The Graces constitute the masterpiece of the entire neoclassical movement, as well as one of Antonio Canova's most celebrated works, mainly due to the feeling of amazement that is felt at the sight of three female figures made life-size and made from a single block of marble. The group was requested by the empress Joséphine de Beauharnais, who was one of the principal patrons of Canova. Her personal story saw her join in an early marriage to Alexandre Beauharnais, but it was her second marriage to Napoleon that made her famous. In fact, he died in 1815, so it was his son Eugène who enjoyed the enchanting beauty of the work, which is now located in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. While Canova was still intent on the first variant, in December 1814 John Russel, VI Duke of Bedford, arrived in Rome. The plaster model impressed him so much that he commissioned a replica. Now the masterpiece has become a shared heritage of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. The two versions differ only in the shape of the column. In the language of the nude, the one congenial and favorite to him, Canova represented these three girls daughters of Zeus and the goddess Oceanina Eurìnome. Their names are Aglaia, embodiment of splendor, Euphrosyne of joy and gladness, and Talia which represents prosperity. Due to ancient iconography, the motif of the three naked and embraced female figures, often associated with Venus, was repeated several times by Canova in his works. There are in fact several drawings and tempera paintings, a monochrome, a painting, but above all a bas-relief in plaster, indicative of his interpretative thought. The innovative will to portray the three figures differently from the previous and classic representations was becoming evident. This group translates the idea of 'grace' into sculpture, understood not so much as a category of bodily beauty, but rather as a quality of spirit and feeling. The three sisters, surrounded by a cloth, respond perfectly to the canons of ideal beauty sought by neoclassical artists. They are joined in a graceful dance or a merry-go-round and reach a perfect degree of balance. They look a lot alike both for the hairstyle and the features and are united in a tender closed embrace, intertwined, as if they were a single entity. They also follow a pattern of intimate, loving, mutual and reserved glances, excluding the viewer. It implies a subtle play of flexible and soft lines, of reciprocal gestures, slow and studied, of words almost whispered in a harmonious composition. On the left stands a stele, almost hidden by the left figure, on which three crowns of flowers rest, which intelligently acts as a base for the three subjects. We see what Quatremère de Quincy in fact called "the visible modifications of an abstract quality" through "the ingenious and new embrace of three female figures who, from whichever side you consider them, turning around, always show, under aspects different, a variety of positions, shapes, contours, ideas and affections ingeniously nuanced ». This sculpture fully expresses the deeper meaning and essence of the thought elaborated within the neoclassical culture, representing in an exemplary way the idea of beauty dropped into a perfect and in itself complete form.