EVERDINGEN, Caesar van
(b. 1617, Alkmaar, d. 1678, Alkmaar)

Nymphs Offering the Young Bacchus Wine, Fruit and Flowers

Oil on canvas, 162 x 180 cm
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

The painting is an example of cool, dignified classicism, in which Van Everdingen came close to the art of Poussin.

The principal character in the painting is the young man with his foot on a high marble step on the right. He can be identified as the wine god Bacchus by his coronet of vine leaves and the ivy-twined staff in his hand. His left foot rests on two rather puzzling objects: one is a mask of an elderly man with white locks and a moustache, and the other is the leather skirt of a shiny metal cuirass. The three sparsely-clad young women in attendance on the left are fitting companions for the lusty Bacchus. The nymph opposite Bacchus extends her right arm to offer him a glass of wine. Bacchus reaches out to receive it, taking the stem between his thumb and index finger. This gesture, where one person hands a glass of wine to another, is the central theme of many of Vermeer's and Ter Borch's slightly earlier genre pieces.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.