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The artist depicts the great pre-Romantic ballerina, Emilie Bigottini, assuming the role of a Bacchante with grapes in her hair and a leopard skin loosely draped over the shoulders. A Bacchante was a female companion of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and ecstasy. Bacchantes were renowned for abandoning themselves to drink and licentiousness at the Bacchanalian festivals. Emilie Bigottini studied at the Paris Opera Ballet School and joined the Paris Opera in 1801.
oil on canvas
56.2 x 46.3 cm
bequeathed by the Founders, 1885