Design for a Fan: Bacchus and AriadneEnlarge image

Design for a Fan: Bacchus and Ariadne, c. 1749

François Boucher
French, 1703 - 1770
red, white, and black chalk on laid paper, laid down on laid paper
22.6 x 43.5 cm
Purchased 1960
National Gallery of Canada (no. 9071)

The subject of Bacchus and Ariadne - Bacchus being the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Dionysus - was a popular one with the French artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. According to the myth, Dionysus married Ariadne after discovering her asleep on the island of Naxos, where she had been abandoned by Theseus. Boucher chose to represent the two protagonists surrounded by nymphs and cherubs against a backdrop of classical architecture. The artist would employ the same composition in a cartoon for a tapestry woven in Beauvais in 1749, one of the series entitled "The Loves of the Gods".


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