François Boucher

Design for a Fan: Bacchus and Ariadne

c. 1749
Sketching swiftly and vigorously, Boucher crams a wealth of detail into the confines of a fan shape: two lovers are surrounded by nymphs, putti, animals, and other figures, and are set beneath a great canopy against a backdrop of Classical architecture. This composition was also used for a tapestry cartoon woven at Beauvais in 1749 as part of a series of the Loves of the Gods. In this scene, the god Bacchus appears on the island of Naxos, where he finds and consoles Ariadne, grief-stricken after being abandoned there by Theseus.
Title
Design for a Fan: Bacchus and Ariadne
Date
c. 1749
Medium
Drawing
Materials
red, white, and black chalk on laid paper, mounted on laid paper
Dimensions
22.6 x 43.5 cm
Nationality
French
Credit line
Purchased 1960
Accession number
9071