The Three Graces restored to their former beauty

From 26.04.21 > 02.05.21

In 2021 the fountain of the Three Graces is the focus of a study conducted with a view to its full restoration. In April the restorers will conduct tests to draw up a restoration protocol.

This initial study will make it possible to analyse in detail the techniques and materials used to make the fountain. Thanks to this new assessment, the Museum and the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) hope to find answers to many historical questions.

At the moment we have little information about this work. Its origins, use and history remain obscure.

The first step taken in January has already brought to light new information about the history of this sculpture.

The Three Graces restored to their former beauty

Who are the Three Graces?

This anthropomorphic fountain became part of the collections in 1889. It depicts three naked young women, a very fashionable theme during the Renaissance period. The young women surround a so-called Tuscan column, with a smooth shaft, a base and a rounded capital. It rests on a plinth in the shape of a truncated pyramid.

They are named Aglaea, the symbol of Splendour, Euphrosyne, the symbol of Joy, and Thalia, the symbol of Abundance. Probably the daughters of Jupiter and Eurynome, they evoke the life they live by dancing.


One of the Graces can be seen from behind with her hair braided and tied at her forehead. The other two are leaning casually on the column. Their long, curly hair falls over their shoulders. Framed trapezoidal panels adorn the different sides of the plinth. This bas-relief features mythological scenes associated with water and fertility.

The water used to gush out of five jets in the breasts of two of the Graces and one of the reliefs on the plinth. There is no basin to collect the water which, therefore, flowed directly onto the ground.

To find out more about the work, feel free to consult its inventory sheet.

Practical information

  • During the study, the room with the Three Graces is not accessible but you can see the restoration experts at work.
  • This restoration is carried out by the IRPA with the support of the Perier-D’Ieteren Foundation
  • 1st phase: from 11 January to 22 January 2021
  • 2nd phase: 26 April to 02 May 2021