Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Vigor and Grace



In this post, we examine two seemingly divergent movements: Vigor and Grace

In order to explore whether the movements we deem courteous and goodnatured are related to the movements behind effort, energy, and enthusiasm or physical strength and good health, we must first consider each in and of itself prior to its relation to the other.

At first blush, the concepts of Grace and Vigor differ.

Grace is that simple elegance or refinement of movement we associate with an attractive and polite manner of being as well as a talent for behaving in kind.

Detail from Primavera (c. 1482)
Sandro Botticelli
Uffizi Gallery

One of the most recognizable subjects in the history of art, the Three Graces of Greek mythology have been the subject of countless artworks, poems, dances, and musical pieces.

Daughters of omnipotent Zeus, the Graces were broadly considered goddesses of charm, beauty, and creativity.

Aglaea, Euphorsyne, and Thalia embodied the ideals of Beauty, Mirth, and Good Cheer, respectively. The Three Graces were written on by such colossal figures as Homer and Pausanius, and were associated with both the Elusian Mysteries and the cult of the Oracle of Delphi.

Generally depicted as youthful, beautiful women, closely embracing each other or dancing in a circle, these three joyously dancing women whose voluptuous figures recall the fertility of goddesses of ancient love were the ones with whom all romanticized.


The Accolade (1901)
Edmund Blair Leighton (1853-1922)
Private Collection




Of the same nature and ignited by the same human sentiment, whether or not it is delivered in the same tender fashion associated with Grace, exists Vigor...

marked by a sense of robustness, radiance, energy, life, vitality, virility, verve, spirit, zeal, passion, determination, dynamism, and a force de vivre. 

Vigor is the binding force, the validity upon which Grace may rely to determine who and what belongs in one's good (or bad) graces. Those things belonging to the highest human ideals are what we regard with favor, those things that fall short are what we regard with disfavor.

Vigor personifies the act of bestowal, conferring or presenting an honor, right, or gift upon one who can be entrusted to be in harmony with such an endowment.


Omnia Vincit Amor (The Power of Love in the Three Elements) (1809)
Benjamin West (1738-1820)



The sentiment from which Grace and Vigor  arise is the sentiment that enables us to creatively plan life in ways that maintain an equilibrium - a dynamic, ever-adjustable balance between the exigencies of the three sides of life ~ to meet the challenges of survival, creative passion, and higher destiny.


Grace and Vigor foster the creative planning of human existence in all its many threads that we call "discovery".

In our postmodern period, we are constantly extending our creativity forth in an ontogenesis of being and at the same time a creative differentiator known as authenticity.




In this respect and along this line of thinking, according to which life is the measure of all things, the ideas of Vigor and Grace are both signifiers and justifers of life, of continuous individual development, and of self-consistent personalities.

Vigor and Grace belong to that continuous flux in which interconnectedness, interrelations, and reciprocal exigencies take place. The stable elements belonging to the bridge that connects a living individual to the shifts of identity that constantly yield a state of beingness and becoming.














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