The Renaissance was marked by the rebirth of the Classics in literature, language, architecture and art.
Dionysus, the Greek god of Wine, was re-discovered and celebrated as the Roman god Bacchus. The 16th century Italians loved his story and so morphed him from being a powerful classic greek God into a loveable drunken mischievous reveller.
Bacchus is often displayed as a youthful adolescent and frequently painted enjoying, a bit too much, wine. He’s usually depicted with adorning grapes and vine leaves in his hair and a rather drunken grin as he wreaks havoc on the lives of men.
There is an amusing article about Titian’s ‘Bacchus and Ariadne’ painting, created between 1520-1523 and exhibited in National Gallery/London, that might have some art boffins squirm, but perfectly fits into the theme of mischief.
Kelly Grovier writes on BBC.com Culture ‘The hidden toilet humour in a Titian masterpiece.’
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 hand and have a chuckle. Don’t worry, in the best of sense of British humour, it is tasteful.