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Three Graces: Les Trois Femmes Noires (work of art)

Artwork Info

Created
2011
Nationality
American
Birth/Death
1971-
Dimensions
108 x 144 in.
(274.3 x 365.8 cm)

Credit

Purchased with funds from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest)

Culture
American

About

In this work, Mickalene Thomas has recreated the traditional image of the Three Graces, as familiar from Greek mythology. The Graces are presented in art-historical iconography as three women, representing conventional values of charm, beauty, and creativity. Instead of illustrating the Graces as Grecian/ European beauties (as Botticelli in the work that inspired this work, Primavera), Thomas has updated them as modern African-American women, made up and dressed up, as if for a night out on the town. The women wear bright, bold patterns, drawing attention to their figures and emphasizing their femininity. At the same time, Thomas has created a scene that seems fractured, literally- the picture plane is continually disrupted by geometric, neon lines, fragmenting the entire panel into tessellated shards. The effect is fresco-like, perhaps a reference to the ancient Greco-Roman tradition of the Three Graces? Overall, the panel is jarring and attention-grabbing, a celebration of the African-American feminine power and beauty.

tags: allusion, narrative, fashion

Images

  • Mickalene Thomas, Three Graces, Les Trois Femmes Noires

    Three Graces: Les Trois Femmes Noires