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Francois Boucher - Bacchus and Erigone

by Alexandra Tuschka

The Rococo was represented not least by the Frenchman Francois Boucher. In one of his major works - Bacchus and Erigone - we see a prime example of the Frenchman's gentle, impasto application of paint. The frivolity, which would later give the period a negative connotation, is expressed here in the boldly displayed legs of the protagonists.

rigone is seen in tender togetherness with another lady in a natural setting. Two putti underline the ancient tradition of the scene. A soft sunbeam shines through the well-composed trees into the picture. The fleshy bodies in front are hit by it; the putti, on the other hand, disappear in the shadow.

But one thing puzzles - why is Erigone lying in the arms of a woman? The legend provides information. So Bacchus had transformed himself into a bunch of grapes to seduce the beauty. Erigone fainted when she touched them. Here one of the two putti hands the girl a basket in which these are. His furtive glance runs along the left edge of the picture.

The seduction of innocent girls was a favorite motif of the Frenchman Boucher. This painting is part of a series that depicts the four seasons. The vine leaves and grapes are not only an attribute of the god of wine, but also unmistakably represent the approaching autumn.

Francois Boucher - Bacchus and Erigone

Oil on canvas, 1745, 99 x 134.5 cm, Wallace Collection in London


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