Bacchus and Ariadne
Giordano, Luca (1634 - 1705); Brueghel , Abraham (1631-1690 ) (possible painter of the flowers)
Presented by the Hon. Edward Ellice , M.P. for Coventry, in 1855
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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This is the greatest painting by one of the greatest Italian painters of that time. It was the first painting given to Coventry with the intention of forming an art gallery. It is a virtuoso reinterpretation and expansion of Titian's famous painting of 'Bacchus and Ariadne' which is now in the National Gallery, London. It tells a story which was popular in classical times and in the renaissance. Theseus had killed the Minotaur and escaped from the Labyrinth by means of a ball of string given to him by Ariadne. He took Ariadne off with him in his ship but (this is where the painting begins) abandoned her on the island of Naxos. She holds the string and gazes at his vanishing sail, but behind her Bacchus, god of wine and revelry, arrives to comfort her.