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This work depicts one of the most popular mythological themes for paintings from the late Renaissance onward: the love story between Bacchus, the god of wine, and Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete. Bacchus discovered Ariadne on the island of Naxos, where she had been abandoned by the Greek hero Theseus, and fell in love with her.
This work has an unusual vertical format and almost half of the picture is taken up with trees and landscape, partially covered by the drapery on the left. The rich colouring shows the influence of earlier Venetian artists like Titian, whose painting of the same subject is also in the National Gallery’s collection.
Oil on canvas
H 75.9 x W 63.2 cm