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Bacchus and Ariadne on the Isle of Naxos

Antoine Coypel, French, 1661 - 1722

Made in France, Europe

c. 1693

Oil on canvas

28 3/4 x 33 11/16 inches (73 x 85.5 cm) Framed: 40 1/4 × 44 3/4 × 4 3/8 inches (102.2 × 113.7 × 11.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 383, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds (by exchange) from the bequest of Edna M. Welsh and the gift of Mrs. R. Barclay Scull, 1990

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This painting was commissioned by the Duke of Orléans, only brother of King Louis XIV, to decorate a small, private room in his Château of Saint-Cloud. The subject derives from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete, has been abandoned by her lover Theseus, whom she had rescued from the labyrinth. As she mourns his departure she is discovered by the god Bacchus, who immediately marries her. Coypel depicts the tender moment of transition as Ariadne's tears give way to feelings of newborn love.


Painted in 1693 for Monsieur, the duc d'Orléans (Philippe d'Orléans, 1640-1701), brother of King Louis XIV, and placed in his picture cabinet at the Château de Saint-Cloud; Prince Philippe François de Rubempré, Brussels; sale, Cabinet de Rubempré, Brussels, April 11, 1765, no. 111; purchased by Deroy, buying for Basan (probably the dealer Pierre-François Basan, 1723-1797), Paris [1]. Gerret Braamcamp (1699-1771), Amsterdam, as of 1766 [2]. Possibly Frederick II of Prussia (1712-1786, King of Prussia 1740-1786) or the Prussian royal collections [3]. With Dr. Nicholaas Beets, Anvers, as of 1925 [4]. Private collection, Basel, 1952. Possibly Countess Clavel, Lugano, Switzerland [5]. Sale, Christie's, Monaco, June 15, 1990, no. 50; purchased for the Philadelphia Museum of Art with funds (by exchange) from the bequest of Edna M. Welsh and gift of Mrs. R. Barclay Scull, 1990. 1. Spelled "Bassan" in the annotated PMA copy of the sale catalogue; given elsewhere in the catalogue as "Basan". Probably to be identified as the Paris engraver, print-seller and auctioneer Pierre-François Basan. Deroy was a Brussels dealer. 2. Cited as Braamcamp collection in J. F. de Bastide, Le temple des arts ou Le cabinet de M. Braamcamp, Amsterdam, 1766. This information courtesy of Carol Dowd of the Getty Provenance Index. The painting does not appear in any of the Braamcamp estate sales. 3. A wax seal on the back of the painting has the monogram FR, possibly for Frederick II of Prussia. Also on the back is a coat of arms belonging to a member of the Russian princely family that traces its origin from the Grand Duke Giedymin of Lithuania. This information supplied by A. S. Ciechanowiecki in a letter dated January 9, 1991. 4. According to an annotated photograph in the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. 5. Information from Hugo Morley-Fletcher, Christie's (1992 memo in curatorial file). Countess Clavel's father was was said to be Eastern European, possibly Polish.

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