LA FOSSE, Charles de
(b. 1636, Paris, d. 1716, Paris)

Bacchus and Ariadne

c. 1699
Oil on canvas
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon

At the royal château of Marly, La Fosse shared a commission around the turn of the century for a set of Four Seasons with Louis de Boullongne, Antoine Coypel, and Jouvenet. While Jouvenet was suitably assigned the male subject of Winter, La Fosse no less suitably dealt with Autumn, in the persons of Bacchus and Ariadne. This is no dramatic encounter of god and mortal girl but, La Fosse shows them in happy, graceful dialogue, and amused rather than disturbed by the loyal barking of Ariadne's pet dog. It is the picture's glowing, half-autumnal tonality, not its somewhat inert composition, that makes it attractive, combined with its sensuous paint surface.