The Three Graces

Print
ca. 1845 (printed and published)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Marie Taglioni, Fanny Elssler and Fanny Cerrito were three of the most famous ballet dancers of the mid-19th century. They are depicted in their most famous roles: Taglioni as the Sylph in La Sylphide, Elssler in the Cachucha from The Devil on Two Sticks and Cerrito in the pas de Diane from The Beauty of Ghent. The costumes symbolise the characters: Taglioni's diaphanous and insubstantial dress symbolises the Sylph as a creature of the air and imagination. Elssler's dress is in mid-19th century style, but hints at Spain in the headdress and the lace flounces; her performance of the Cachucha was so overwhelming that, when she danced in Washington, Congress decided not to convene when she was dancing. Cerrito's short tunic dress is typical theatrical Grecian costume while the crescent moon headdress and bow and arrow identify her as Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Lithograph coloured by hand
Brief Description
The Three Graces - Marie Taglioni, Fanny Elssler and Fanny Cerrito. Lithograph coloured by hand by N Currier, ca. 1845
Physical Description
Three female dancers stand on grass against a lake and landscape; beneath each figure is a floral wreath with the name of each dancer within: Taglioni (left), Elssler (centre) and Cerrito (right). Elssler stands on her right leg, the foot turned out, with her left leg pointed forward; her head is turned to right and her right arm is down, holding Taglioni's hand, and her left is raised, holding Cerrito's hand; she wears a stylized Spanish dress, with off-the-shoulder pointed bodice and short sleeves, trimmed with 'gold' and black lace; the calf-length tiered skirt has a pleated top tier trimmed with a deep flounce of black lace held by 'gold' ribbon; the underskirt is trimmed with black lace and gold ribbon. Her stockings are patterned and her hair is centrally parted and pulled back into a 'coronet' and trimmed with a knot of flowers. Taglioni stands on point on her left leg, her body turned in profile; her hair is pulled back into ringlets at the back and over the front a double band of roses; she wears an off-the shoulder costume with loose frills over the upper arms, a ribbon around the waist and a knee-length skirt. Cerrito stands on point on her left leg, her right raised off the ground, her body arched away from the centre and her head turned towards the viewer under her raised right arm; she wears a fitted, short-sleeved bodice decorated with bands of flowers at back and sleeves; around the body is a sash decorated with stars and her above-the-knee skirt is similarly decorated.
Dimensions
  • Right hand side height: 357mm
  • Above lower edge width: 245mm
Credit line
Bequeathed by Lady Mary Evans
Object history
The Three Graces - Marie Taglioni, Fanny Elssler and Fanny Cerrito. Lithograph coloured by hand by N Currier, ca. 1845. Marie Taglioni, Fanny Elssler and Fanny Cerrito were three of the most famous ballet dancers of the mid-19th century. They are depicted in their most famous roles: Taglioni as the Sylph in La Sylphide, Elssler in the Cachucha from Le Diable Boîteux (The Lame Devil) and Cerrito in the pas de Diane from The Beauty of Ghent. The costumes symbolise the characters: Taglioni's diaphanous and insubstantial dress symbolises the Sylph as a creature of the air and imagination. Elssler's dress is in mid-19th century style, but hints at Spain in the headdress and the lace flounces. Cerrito's short tunic dress is typical theatrical Grecian costume and the crescent moon headdress and bow and arrow identify her as Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon.
Subject depicted
Summary
Marie Taglioni, Fanny Elssler and Fanny Cerrito were three of the most famous ballet dancers of the mid-19th century. They are depicted in their most famous roles: Taglioni as the Sylph in La Sylphide, Elssler in the Cachucha from The Devil on Two Sticks and Cerrito in the pas de Diane from The Beauty of Ghent. The costumes symbolise the characters: Taglioni's diaphanous and insubstantial dress symbolises the Sylph as a creature of the air and imagination. Elssler's dress is in mid-19th century style, but hints at Spain in the headdress and the lace flounces; her performance of the Cachucha was so overwhelming that, when she danced in Washington, Congress decided not to convene when she was dancing. Cerrito's short tunic dress is typical theatrical Grecian costume while the crescent moon headdress and bow and arrow identify her as Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon.
Collection
Accession Number
S.2603-1986

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record createdAugust 16, 2004
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