Kehinde Wiley

American, 1977-

The Three Graces, 2012

Oil on canvas

84 x 111 inches (213.3 x 281.9 cm)

Kehinde Wiley completed The Three Graces as a part of The World Stage, a series of paintings designed to re-imagine Western art traditions outside of their Caucasian-centric focus. Three ordinary men of color pose in an adaptation of Raphael Sanzio 1501-1505 painting, The Three Graces. In contrast to Raphael’s painting, Wiley represents the Greek goddesses of charitable deeds, gratitude, and charm as three black men. The arabesque pattern intertwining The Graces creates a sense of continuity between past Western traditions and present West African customs promoting ethnic pride.

Asia Sellars

An extended look at Wiley’s Three Graces