Skip to Content
Closed now, next open Thursday. Closed now, next open Thursday.

The Fates Gathering in the Stars

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923)

About this artwork

Elihu Vedder depicted the three Fates of Greek mythology working the thread of life: Clotho spins the thread, Lachesis fixes its length, and Atropos cuts it at the appointed time of death. Their symbolic tools—spindle, distaff, and shears—rest in the foreground, emphasizing the Fates’ decisive role in matters of life and death. Vedder adapted this painting from an illustration he had designed for an 1884 publication by Edward FitzGerald—a translation of the work of 11th-century poet Omar Khayyám, The Rubáiyát. Vedder was attracted to mysterious, visionary subject matter. Here, he explored metaphysical questions of life, death, and afterlife, subjects at the core of Khayyám’s poetry.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Elihu Vedder


The Fates Gathering in the Stars


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed and inscribed recto, bottom-right, in dark brown pigment: "Elihu Vedder" (underlined) / "Rome 1887".


113 × 82.6 cm (44 1/2 × 32 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Friends of American Art Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions