Tapestry: Bacchus and Ariadne, Bacchus Transformed into Grapes, from the The Loves of the Gods Series
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Gift of J. Paul Getty
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Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory, manufacturer; after cartoons painted by François Boucher, manufactory director
French, Beauvais, about 1748 - 1770
Wool and silk

12 ft. x 24 ft. 9 in.

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This double-subject tapestry, woven to represent a painting with a gilt wood frame decorated with shell motifs, combines two subjects that were also woven individually. Each story comes from classical myths about the loves of the gods recorded in Ovid's Metamorphoses and other ancient sources. On the left, Bacchus consoles Ariadne after her abandonment by Theseus, whose ship sails away in the distance. On the right, Bacchus transforms himself into a bunch of grapes in order to seduce Erigone. Unwittingly, she accepts a basket of fruit containing the grapes from a servant.

"The Loves of the Gods" was the fourth of nine tapestry series designed by the painter François Boucher for the Beauvais manufactory. His drawings, known as cartoons, guided the weavers on the looms. Working simultaneously on such tapestries, a number of weavers would take a year to complete three square yards (two and a half square meters) a year. A tapestry of this size would take over three years to complete.