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ID number:  BIRBI-90.1
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Mazzoni, Sebastiano (c.1611-1678)
Title / Object name:  The Three Fates
Object type:  Painting
Place made:  Venice
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  about 1670/5
Materials:  Oil on canvas
Measurements:  210.5 x 153.3 cm
Provenance:  Walpole Gallery, 1990; purchased from the Walpole Gallery in 1990.
BIRBI-90.1.jpg

According to classical myth, the destiny of man is determined by the Three Fates. They spin, measure, and cut the thread of life. At the top, Clotho holds a spinning whorl from which comes the thread. It is gathered by Lachesis, and cut below by Atropos with her shears. The Fates are accompanied by a serpent, symbol of evil. Behind, a broken column symbolises a life cut short.

Mazzoni’s choice of young women to represent the Fates, instead of old and ugly crones, adds a further sinister element. The artist himself suffered cruelly at the hands of fate – he died after a fall down stairs.

Notes:  Exhibited: 'Venetian Baroque and Rococo paintings', Walpole Gallery, London, 1990, no. 3.

1 Related People

Mazzoni, Sebastiano
Italian
c. 1611
1678

2 Related Publications

Venetian baroque and rococo paintings

Walpole Gallery, London
1990
Picture of the Month April 2008
Murray, Kathryn


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