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“Bacchus and Ariadne” by Sebastiano Ricci

Sebastiano Ricci - Bacchus and Ariadne - Google Art Project

“Bacchus and Ariadne” by Sebastiano Ricci

“Bacchus and Ariadne” by Sebastiano Ricci shows Bacchus emerging with his followers and falling in love on first sight with the sleeping Ariadne.  The story of Bacchus and Ariadne is based on a Roman legend written by the poet Ovid over two thousand years ago. Bacchus falls in love with Ariadne and offers to marry her with a promise of a crown of stars as a wedding gift. Ariadne was a favourite subject for paintings, sculpture and vases with over 400 images of Ariadne in various pieces of art.

Ariadne’s story begins when as a daughter of the king Minos of Crete, she helps Theseus, an Athenian hero to kill the Minotaur. Ariadne saves Theseus by giving him a ball of thread which Theseus uses to find his way out of the labyrinth by following Ariadne’s thread back to the entrance. After achieving his mission Theseus sets sail to return to Athens, and he takes Ariadne with him. His ship stops on the island of Naxos where Ariadne falls asleep and is then is deserted by Theseus. This scene shows Ariadne sleeping as is discovered by Bacchus and his partying entourage.

Sebastiano Ricci was an Italian painter of the late Baroque school of Venice. Ricci worked in a number of Italian cities, as well as London and Paris and was in contact and was influenced by many leading artists of the period.


  • Why did Ariadne become a favourite subject for paintings, sculpture and vases?
  • Why are we fascinated by stories based on falling in love at first sight?


Bacchus and Ariadne

  • Title:                 Bacchus and Ariadne
  • Artist:               Sebastiano Ricci
  • Year:                 1713
  • Genre:              Mythological painting
  • Type:                Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:   H: 75.9 cm (29.8 in); W: 63.2 cm (24.8 in)
  • Museum:         National Gallery, London

Sebastiano Ricci

  • Artist:             Sebastiano Ricci
  • Born:              1659 – Venice
  • Died:              1734 – Venice
  • Period:           Baroque School of Venice
  • Notable works:


“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”
– Galileo Galilei


Photo Credit: 1) Sebastiano Ricci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons