VRIES, Adriaen de
(b. ca. 1556, The Hague, d. 1626, Prague)

Bacchus Discovering Ariadne on Naxos

c. 1610
Bronze, 52,5 x 42 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This relief was made in the artist's Prague period, when he was in the service of Emperor Rudolf II, at a time when he was at the height of his fame and was regarded as one of the pre-eminent sculptors of his day.

It was Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete, who helped Theseus, whom she loved, to escape from the labyrinth with the aid of a ball of string, but all she had in return was to be abandoned by him on the island of Naxos. Here Bacchus came to her rescue. Classical representations show Ariadne asleep when Bacchus arrives, as described by Philostratus.