A lead sculpture, representing Bacchus and Ariadne. Bacchus, standing, holds a bunch of grapes in his left hand and has his head decorated with vine leaves and grapes. Ariadne, sitting, holds a chalice. The group is completed by a panther and a cupid.
This composition evokes the union between Bacchus (Dionysus), the son of Jupiter (Zeus), and Ariadne, the daughter of the king Minos. Abandoned by Theseus, while she lamented her fate, Ariadne was promised by the goddess Venus (Aphrodite) that she would have an immortal lover. Bacchus found her, consoled her, married her and carried her off to Olympus. As a wedding present, he offered her a golden diadem that, when she died, he threw into the sky and was transformed into a constellation.
Ariadne can be considered an old Aegean goddess of vegetation, so that her sacred marriage to Bacchus can be interpreted as the union of two divinities who protected seeds, being associated with the death and the rebirth of vegetation.