Bacchante with an Ape

Object Details


Bacchante with an Ape


Hendrick ter Brugghen (Dutch, 1588 - 1629)






Oil on canvas


102.9 x 89.2 cm (40 1/2 x 35 1/8 in.)

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A bacchante, follower of Bacchus, the god of wine, leans forward and grins at the viewer while squeezing a bunch of grapes into a golden drinking vessel. Her posture, exposed breasts, flushed cheeks, and inviting smile allude to her drunken state. There is something disturbing, however, in the way she provocatively confronts the viewer, leaning into the spectator's space and smiling broadly. In the lower left corner an ape mimics the woman's gesture, holding a smaller bunch of grapes in his right paw. The ape may serve a moralizing purpose, condemning excessive drinking.

While visiting Rome from about 1604 to 1614, Hendrick ter Brugghen saw the famous Bacchus by Caravaggio from which this classical painting of Bacchus's female follower derives.

in 19th century -

Litta Collection (Milan, Italy)

- 1889

N. Bianco (Turin, Italy) [sold, Bianco sale, Sambon, Milan, November 25, 1889, lot 8, to Cristoforo Benigno Crespi.]

1889 - after 1914

Commandatore Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, 1833 - 1920 (Milan, Italy) [unsold, Crespi sale, Lair-Dubreuil, Baudoin, Hotel Drouot, Paris, June 6, 1914, lot 79.]

by 1967

R. G. Poletti (Milan, Italy)

by 1968

F. Giordano (Turin, Italy)

by 1969

Botte (Vaduz, Liechtenstein)

by 1969

and Langenegger (Vaduz, Liechtenstein)

by 1975

Rolba Anstalt (Vaduz, Liechtenstein)

- 1984

R. G. Poletti (Lugano, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Hendrick ter Brugghen und die Malerei in Utrecht (February 11 to April 12, 1987)
  • Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, (Braunschweig), February 11 to April 12, 1987
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