About this artwork
Elihu Vedder adapted this painting from an illustration he designed for an 1884 edition of Edward FitzGerald’s translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. An expatriate artist who lived in Rome for most of his life, Vedder was attracted to mysterious, visionary subject matter. The artist used the Rubaiyat to express his own philosophical beliefs regarding such metaphysical and spiritual questions as death and the existence of an afterlife, subjects that are at the core of Khayyam’s poetry. This image depicts the three Fates of Greek mythology—Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos—working the thread of life. Clotho spins the thread, Lachesis fixes its length, and Atropos cuts it at the appointed time of death. The Fates are symbolized by the spindle, distaff, and shears in the foreground and represent the poet’s belief that mankind has no control over destiny.
Currently Off View
- Arts of the Americas
- Elihu Vedder
- The Fates Gathering in the Stars
- United States
- Oil on canvas
- Signed, lower right: "Elihu Vedder / Rome 1887"
- 113 × 82.6 cm (44 1/2 × 32 1/2 in.)
- Friends of American Art Collection