Skip to main content
Bacchus and Ariadne
Titian
/

One of the most famous paintings in the National Gallery, Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne illustrates a story told by the classical authors Ovid and Catullus. The Cretan princess Ariadne has been abandoned on the Greek island of Naxos by Theseus, whose ship sails away in the distance. Bacchus, god of wine, falls in love at first sight with Ariadne and leaps from his chariot towards her. Later, Bacchus throws Ariadne’s crown into the air, immortalising her as the constellation Corona Borealis, represented by the stars above her head.

This painting is one of a celebrated series by Giovanni Bellini, Titian and the Ferrarese artist Dosso Dossi, commissioned for the Camerino d‘Alabastro (Alabaster Room) in the Ducal Palace, Ferrara, by Alfonso I d’Este, Duke of Ferrara. All the pictures, completed from 1514 to 1525, are bacchanals – scenes of hedonism, drinking, music making and lovemaking. Titian shows off his great skill as a colourist, combining in this single picture all of the purest and most vibrant pigments available at that time.

Key facts
Artist Titian
Artist dates active about 1506; died 1576
Full title Bacchus and Ariadne
Date made 1520-3
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 176.5 x 191 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1826
Inventory number NG35
Location in Gallery Room 6
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo