The Graces or Hours, also called Charities at times, were the companions to gods and heroes, and especially favoured by Hermes. They were frequently represented in Greek and Roman iconography, beginning with the introduction of nude female divinities.
Here, the three goddesses are represented holding one another by the shoulder, on a single plane, as if in a dance motif. But they are not dancing ; the rhythm suggested by the knee bending and the unusual elevation of the hips is only the exaggeration of hip motifs of the Classical period.
It is a new static rhythm where taste for full and feminine forms has replaced the almost exclusive study of the athletic nude during the 5th century. One can imagine these figures attending a scene on Mount Olympus.
The origin of this motif seems to be found in painting, thus explaining the linear representation of the three sculptures on a single plane.
From here the motif, well within the taste of the Hellenistic period, was then isolated and reproduced in three dimensions. In the Hellenistic world, the role of the goddesses was in fact almost uniquely to attend in the agreeable moments in the lives of gods and men, during which their beneficial presence guaranteed an authenticity and a more lasting quality.
The Three Graces