Bacchus, the god of wine, stands isolated in a landscape. Grapes and vines are visible on the cliff beneath his long-stemmed, saucer-shaped goblet. The artist represents the decadent deity as a fully nude adult male with a slight paunch and the face and curls of a boy. The strange juxtaposition is appropriate for a figure symbolizing pleasure, frivolity, and excess.
Although Annibale would go on to paint Bacchus-themed frescos in the Farnese Palace in Rome, this painting dates to an earlier, brief sojourn in Venice in 1590–91. The wine god’s fixed stare and brilliant illumination recall the style of the major Venetian Renaissance painter, Paolo Veronese. Its original location and patron are unknown, and it is possible that Annibale painted it as a personal exercise.