This is the first translation of an Italian poem called "The Graces" that shows its influence on art and literature. The present work provides an entirely unique translation of nineteenth century Italian writer Ugo Foscolo's universally unknown, yet aesthetically superb poem "The Graces." Originally written in Neoclassical Italian, Foscolo's poem embraces all which is "harmonious" and "beautiful" in ancient Greek and Roman art and poetry as well as in Neoclassical aesthetics. Those qualities mentioned above which renowned poets such as Homer, Catullus, Virgil and others have savored in their writings, and find full artistic expression in "The Graces." It is the creation of poetry itself that is celebrated in the poem. Dr. Needham's translation in English not only retains the authentic flavor of Foscolo's Italian poem and all that Neoclassicalism embodies, but also includes insightful criticism concerning other English translations of the poem.
There are also unique commentaries on certain verses in the text which allude to themes of sensuality and eroticism seen in the rococo works of French painters such as Fragonard and Watteau contrasted with themes of purity and modesty noted in the works of French artist Jacques-Louis David and Antonio Canova. It is precisely to this inspiring nineteenth century Italian sculptor that Ugo Foscolo dedicates his poetic opus.