Attention anthology: Study of The Three Graces by Antonio Canova, and Voids

Co-editor of, and contributor to, Attention––an anthology of student work, self organised, and supported by RCA.


Study of The Three Graces by Antonio Canova, and Voids

Rose Higham-Stainton

It is not a room. One does not enter as much as pass through. But what it lacks in definition, it makes up for in content—you are its main occupants. There are no other people, at least not now; there will be, in time. They will take pictures; hover over my shoulder, take a turn around your base, move on.

But I stand, for a long time, in front of you—before you. I feel your breath. The space between your toes.

You are not named—here, in this space, you are pluralled— fabled Graces, daughters of Zeus, handmaidens of Aphrodite.

So, Left, let’s call you L. Tight curls amass where your parting begins, the rest pulled back into a looped bun with a curled tail that falls to the nape of your neck. The top of your head is tilted. Your forehead sweeps into the ridge of your nose—that faultless line. Your right arm is outstretched—though bent at the elbow—to hold the shoulder of Right, let’s call you R. Your left hand weaves around the back of Middle, no, just M—to place thumb, first, and second finger on her cheek, forming an indent. L, your legs are crossed just above the knee; your right foot flat to the ground, your left bent at the toe, its sole resting on an unfinished ledge. The shawl that covers your three sexes falls between your inner thighs, L, and is tasselled between your knees. You, all three, have flesh around the hip and waist, and your stomachs curve out, soft around the button; your breasts—

I reel at your stone-carved abundance; mark of your maker.

Something, though, will always elude capture.

Read in full