Nicolas Poussin may have made this drawing and one other to reconstruct an ancient cameo, or he might have copied a hanging ornament from ancient Rome. Roman mythology often represented Bacchus, the god of wine, as a handsome young man and a powerful god, sometimes with a lionskin or an empty drinking vessel.

In this very finished drawing, Poussin used wash in light and dark tones over pen lines to model the figure and to set it off from the background, as if it were a cameo or a relief. He commonly copied ancient objects in his drawings, using these careful records to add authentic details to his classicizing paintings.


  • Title: Dancing Votary of Bacchus
  • Creator: Nicolas Poussin
  • Date Created: about 1630–1635
  • Physical Dimensions: 15.7 × 13.5 cm (6 3/16 × 5 5/16 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink and and brush and brown wash over traces of black chalk
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 86.GG.469
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594 - 1665)
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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