Nymphs and satyrs participate in an ancient pagan feast celebrating Bacchus, the god of wine. Twisting, dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments, the small figures engage in unrestrained revelry, somewhat at odds with the dignified background of classical ruins.
Alessandro Magnasco use a limited color palette for this painting, adding bright blue accents to represent swirling drapery. He created figures using quick, intuitive strokes of paint, producing a composition that appears full of movement. Magnasco painted this work, along with its pendant (also in the Getty’s collection), The Triumph of Venus, in Milan early in his career. His collaborator, Clemente Spera (c. 1661–1742), likely painted the architectural elements, which would explain the stark contrast between the linear, refined brushwork of the ruins and the more sketchy quality of Magnasco’s figures.