Titian Bacchus and Ariadne

The Renaissance was marked by the rebirth of the classics: literature, language, architecture and art. Dionysus, the Greek god of Wine, was rediscovered and celebrated as the Roman god Bacchus. The 16th century Italian’s loved his story, and he went from being a powerful God to a drunken reveller.

Often displayed as a youthful adolescent, he is frequently painted enjoying (too much) of the good stuff. He’s usually depicted with grapevines in his hair and a rather drunken grin as he wreaks mischief on the lives of men.

Last week I read an amusing BBC article about Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne painting 1522-1523, exhibited in National Gallery/London, that might have some art boffins squirm, but perfectly fits into the theme of mischief.

Kelly Grovier writes; The Venetian master’s Bacchus & Ariadne is an iconic portrayal of falling in love. But it could also contain one of the greatest depictions of breaking wind. You could easily miss it amid the romp and revelry that surrounds Bacchus as he leaps from his cheetah-drawn chariot after clapping eyes on the beautiful Ariadne: that tiny detail that transforms Titian’s passionate painting of love-at-first-sight into something less fragrant.

Read the full essay, best with a glass of Wine in your hand and don’t worry, it is tasteful at bbc.com Culture Art ‘The hidden toilet humour in a Titian masterpiece.’

Ulrike x

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