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"The Triumph of Bacchus" oil on canvas after Diego Velázquez


The Triumph of Bacchus" late 19th century oil painting on canvas after Diego Velázquez.
Signed and dated: M. De Saivin, 1897

Canvas: 35.5" x 48" (90 cm x 122 cm)
Framed: 40.5" x 53"  (103 cm x 134 cm)

“The Triumph of Bacchus” by Diego Velázquez depicts Bacchus surrounded by drunks. The work represents Bacchus as the god who rewards men with wine, releasing them from their problems. Bacchus was considered an allegory of the liberation of man from the slavery of daily life. Commissioned by King Philip IV, Velázquez had studied the king’s collection of Italian paintings and especially the treatment of mythological subjects. In this work, Velázquez adopted a realist treatment of a mythological subject, an approach he pursued during his career.

The composition is divided into two halves. On the left, is the luminous Bacchus figure, and the character behind him is represented in the traditional loose robes used for depictions of classical myth. The idealization of the Bacchus’s face is highlighted by the light which illuminates him in a classical style. The right side of the composition presents drunkards of the streets that invite the viewer to join their party. There is no idealization present in their darker worn-out faces who wear the contemporary costume of poor people in 17th-century Spain. The figure kneeling in front of the Bacchus is younger and better dressed than the others, with a sword and boots. The light which illuminates Bacchus is absent on the right side. There are also various elements of naturalism in this work, such as the bottle and pitcher, which appear on the ground.The Triumph of Bacchus by Diego Velázquez, is currently in the Museo del Prado, in Madrid Spain.

Diego Velázquez was a Spanish painter, who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV, and one of the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age. From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velázquez’s artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular, Édouard Manet. Many modern artists, including Picasso and Dalí, have paid tribute to Velázquez by recreating several of his most famous works.