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La jeunesse de Bacchus. (1884)
This large painting by William Bouguereau portrays Bacchus the god of the grape harvest, winemaking, wine, and the ritual of madness merry making and ecstasy amidst a wild, dancing crowd of Nymphs, Satyrs, Cherubs and musicians.
Within the picture there a many characters some of which appear familiar in other works. The centre of the work shows a group of characters dancing, one of which by the way she is dressed appears to be Psyché who is dancing with her arms aloft while holding the hands of the male behind. She looks as if she is glancing towards a young female in a light blue tunic at the back of the painting who is holding a wine goblet in her right hand and a bunch of grapes in her left hand. The girl seems to be reciprocating her glances by staring back in the direction of Psyché with a longing playful look in her eyes.
At the front of the painting a nymph wearing a Leopard skin is happily dancing while holding the hand of a bacchante who presumably has collapsed on the floor in a drunken stupor . She is sprawled out on the floor with her Thyrsus (A giant fennel staff decorated with vines and a pine cone) under her. To the right of the nymph is a young male with a cherub perched upon his shoulders waving a tambourine.
Psyché glancing back at her admirer.
To the right of him two cherubs one of which is holding a triangle are dancing with another bacchante who is wearing a white tunic. She is holding her thyrsus in her right hand and is staring at the cupid to her left, perhaps it is Eros himself.
Two cherubs, or perhaps Eros himself dances gaily with bacchante.
Behind her the female in the dark blue tunic is dancing and staring into space while playing what appear to be castanet's made from shells. To the right of the painting an athletic tall looking, naked male stands facing the trees to his left at the back of the painting. He has his arms raised showing some definition on his back and shoulders and he is playing the cymbals. To his right there are two centaurs one of which is playing dual pan pipes while the other appears to be looking back into the painting toward the merriment. He is holding something in his raised hands of which it is hard to see but could possibly be bagpipes, a much loved instrument along with pan pipes, cymbals, tambourines and castanets of the Satyrs. To the back on the left hand side of the painting Bacchus has been portrayed on the back of a rather tired looking donkey that struggles to carry the overweight and very drunk looking Bacchus. He is wearing a garland on his head and has a vine which has been fashioned into a thong like covering over his genital area. Bacchus has obviously had his fill and is portrayed holding an empty wine goblet or chalice in his right hand. Two Satyrs are trying to steady him and appear to be struggling to support him and keep him on his mount and perhaps ease the burden for the donkey . To his left a partially naked girl holds a tambourine filled with grapes. She is smiling and staring across the scene in the direction of the male cymbalist, while in front of her a naked young male dances and appears to be trying to catch her eye.
In all this painting buy William Bouguereau depicts a scene of drunken debauchery, abandonment and merriment, typical of Bacchus and the Satyrs.
The above account is my interpretation of the work and should in no way be taken as fact.
Satyrs were deities of the woods and were the companion of Bacchus the god of wine. They were half human half beast and although having the upper body of a human they had facial characteristics of a goat and the lower limbs of a goat. They also have the tail of a goat although in Greek tradition they were depicted as having the tail of a horse. They were said to be roguish faint-hearted folk that could also be subversive and even dangerous. They mostly passed the time away drinking, dancing, and chasing nymphs who they would often spy on and stalk. They were ready and willing for every form physical pleasure and even had their own type of dance called sikinnis.
Satyrs acquired their goat-like aspect through the coming together with Faunus, a carefree Italic nature spirit of similar characteristics who was identified with the Greek god Pan.
In Roman art mature satyrs are depicted with full goat's horns, while younger satyrs are mainly depicted as having characteristic bony nubs on their foreheads as with juvenile goats.
In Greek mythology, a centaur is a member of a composite race of creatures,part human and part horse. In early Attic and Boeotian vase-paintings they are depicted with the hindquarters of a horse attached to them; in later renderings centaurs are given the torso of a human joined at the waist to the horse's withers, where the horse's neck would be. This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron. The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himself the son of Ixion and Nephele (inserting an additional generation) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of the story his twin brother was Lapithus, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring peoples cousins. Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.
A genuine la jeunesse de bacchus (the youth of bacchus) by william-adolphe bouguereau 100% hand-painted oil painting reproduction on canvas, made by a real artist, brush stroke by brush stroke. No digital or printing techniques are used. You are commissioning a real painting.
Various canvas sizes available.
Buy the works of William Bouguereau Framed oil on canvas, famous art prints by William Bouguereau.
A Nymph stares across the painting toward the athletic male playing the cymbals.
Naked athletic male plays the cymbals.
Centaurs playing the pipes.