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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.

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
c. 1611

2 Related Publications

Picture of the Month April 2008
Murray, Kathryn

Venetian baroque and rococo paintings

Walpole Gallery, London
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