Inventory number
P01170
Author
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
Title
The Drinkers, or The Triumph of Bacchus
Chronology
1628 - 1629
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
165 cm x 225 cm
School
Spanish
Theme
Mythology
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection (Royal Alcázar Palace, Madrid, “galería del Cierzo”, 1700, n. 179; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “paso de tribuna y trascuartos”, 1772, n. 197 [dupl.]; New Royal Palace, Madrid, "pieza de trucos”, 1794, n. 197; Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de trucos”, 1814-1818, n. 197)

Seated on a barrel, seminude and wearing grape leaves on his head, the god of wine crowns a young soldier surrounded by a group of drinkers. The treatment of this subject distances itself from the noble tradition of the myth in a naturalistic reinterpretation. There is no lack of paradox between the almost ritual gravity of the figures on the left and the playful irony and realism of the group on the right. Stylistically, this work retains the naturalist taste of the artist's time in Seville, along with the colorist influence he assimilated from the work of Rubens and from the sixteenth-century Venetians.

By Royal Warrant, Velázquez was paid one hundred ducats for this, his first mythological painting in 1629. Here, he developed a pictorial discourse on the virtues of wine and its capacity to console people from the strife of daily life.

 
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