Votary of Bacchus

Object Details

Title:

Votary of Bacchus

Artist/Maker(s):

Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594 - 1665)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1640

Medium:

Pen and brown ink and brown wash

Dimensions:

15.7 x 13.5 cm (6 3/16 x 5 5/16 in.)

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Nicolas Poussin may have made this drawing and one other to reconstruct an ancient cameo, or he might have copied a hanging ornament from ancient Rome. Roman mythology often represented Bacchus, the god of wine, as a handsome young man and a powerful god, sometimes with a lionskin or an empty drinking vessel.

In this very finished drawing, Poussin used wash in light and dark tones over pen lines to model the figure and to set it off from the background, as if it were a cameo or a relief. He commonly copied ancient objects in his drawings, using these careful records to add authentic details to his classicizing paintings.

Provenance

Private Collection, England

Sir Anthony Frederick Blunt, British, 1907 - 1983, London

Art Market, Boston

Exhibitions
The Power of Myth: European Mythological Drawings of the 15th through the 19th Century (October 12 to December 26, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 12 to December 26, 1993, (Cat.)
Classicism and Neoclassicism in French Drawing, 1600-1860 (October 25, 1994 to January 8, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 25, 1994 to January 8, 1995, (Cat.)
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999, (Cat.)
Drawing the Classical Figure (December 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009, (Cat.)
Gods and Heroes: European Drawings of Classical Mythology (November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014, (Cat.)