Bacchus and Ariadne

Bacchus and Ariadne, Herbert Gallery, Public Domain

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License of this image: CC-BY-SA
License of original image: Herbert Art Gallery and Museum - Public Domain

By: Luca Giordano (1634 -1705)
Created: 1674–1677, Collection: Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, United Kingdom Rights: Public Domain

Maybe our most challenging painting. Focus on the 3 main figure: Ariadne on the left, young Bacchus on the chariot in the centre and old, drunk Silenus on the right. Then just add friends, goats, leopards and little Pan like creatures. Basically: be creative, be crazy, have fun! That's the whole idea behind a "Bacchanalia".

This painting is based on a famous work by Titian of the same subject. The theme of the painting is taken from an ancient Greek myth. In this scene the hero Theseus sails away after abandoning Ariadne on the island of Naxos. Bacchus, the god of wine and revelry, arrives to comfort her.

Luca Giordano painted this for the Rosso family in Florence. It covered an entire wall in their palace. It was later sold and brought to England. Edward Ellice, MP for Coventry, gave the painting to the city in 1855. He hoped it would be the start of a collection for a new art gallery. One story says that Ellice received the painting as part payment of a gambling debt.

Source of the description: BBC Arts