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The girl is a Bacchante, or female devotee of Bacchus the god of wine, identifiable by her crown of vine leaves, swirling drapery and general air of abandonment. The animal pelt she wears refers to the Bacchic rites, which were accompanied by frenzied orgies in which an animal was torn to pieces and the raw flesh consumed. The loose painterly style suggests that the picture was probably painted in the 1780s.
oil on canvas
45.7 x 37.3 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1857; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897