MANTEGNA, Andrea
(b. 1431, Isola di Carturo, d. 1506, Mantova)

Bacchanalia with a Wine Vat

c. 1470
Copperplate engraving, 335 x 455 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Drunkenness, sloth, and depravity are the consequences of the bacchanalia. Even the idealized figure of Bacchus, which may have been copied from the figure of the God Mars on a Roman sarcophagus, raises doubts about his dignity. He is leaning on a horn of plenty and reaching for grape. Bacchus, or Dionysus, the god of fertility and wine, was the model of immoderation, the counterpart to Apollo.