BACCHUS, Florentine School
Medium: Oil on canvas
W 23" (frame 39 1/2") × H 28 1/2" (frame 44 1/4")
The portrait at present depicts the god of wine, Bacchus, painted oil on canvas and set within a bold gilt frame. The artist of the work is presently unknown, however, it can be derived from the artistic style and technique that it is by a Florentine school, and can be dated to the 16th century. With a label on the reverse inscribed ‘Circolo Artistico - Trieste, Estinzione d'Arte Antica’, followed by the name of the owner & address: Fiora Musner Via Cesare Battisti, 18, Trieste, Italy.
Bacchus is presented in youth, holding an apple in his right hand and a wreath of vine leaves on his head. The half-portrait captures Bacchus in a moment of contortion, as he turns towards the right-hand side of the picture frame, his eyes softly gazing as his body follows in a twisting motion. Whilst his left-hand points toward the floor in the opposite direction, creating a pyramidal composition, both compact and dynamic. It may be noted that these are usually key elements associated with the paintings of the Florentine Renaissance.
There is a real sense of textual variety and richness to the portrait, as the sitter is draped in a rich fold-structure of red material, layered on top of animal fur and a white robe. His gold curly locks are highlighted by the light and the artist has positioned Bacchus before a background of blue sky with clouds. Renaissance tones of reds, greens, and blues are present throughout and contrast against his pale ivory skin. The richness of the blue sky as a falling backdrop feels reminiscent of a sky formed by Tintoretto, with his inspiration coming from those Venetian blues. Though the direct influence may be unknown, it is clear that this aspect offers a dramatic and theatrical portrayal of the god.