Bacchus and Ariadne, by Benedetto Luti (1666-1724).

Oil on canvas, 17.5cm by 33.5cm.

The story of Bacchus and Ariadne is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Bacchus, having discovered the princess Ariadne on the island of Naxos after she had been deserted by her lover Theseus, immediately fell in love with her.

The painting illustrates the moment when Bacchus throws Ariadne’s crown into the sky to become the Northern Constellation.

The painting is in the 1763 Burghley Inventory which records: ‘The Japan Closet…Bacchus and Ariadne.’

The Florentine-born Luti moved to Rome where he became a successful artist

He painted in oils, but was also the first artist to create portraiture in pastels, which brought him to the attention of Cosimo III de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany who became a patron

Luti also ran a school of drawing and worked as an art dealer.


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