POUSSIN, Nicolas
(b. 1594, Les Andelys, d. 1665, Roma)

Bacchanal: the Andrians

Oil on canvas, 121 x 175 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

In the Bacchanal: the Andrians in the Louvre, the mood is even lighter than in the Munich Apollo and Daphne or the Louvre Triumph of Flora, although the colours retain a Venetian richness. In these pictures, Poussin was trying to express his personal vision of the lushness and extravagance of antiquity, tinged with a certain sadness. In some cases he succeeded, although in a number of others his use of a dark ground has caused excessive darkening and the pictures have sometimes lost their brilliance.

The Andrians were the inhabitants of the Aegean island of Andros, famous for its wine, and therefore a centre of the worship of Bacchus in antiquity. Legend told that the god visited the island annually when a fountain of water turned into wine.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 7 minutes):
Camille Saint-Saëns: Samson et Delila, Act III, Scene 2, Bacchanal