At the center of this painting is the infant god Bacchus. Born of Jupiter’s illicit union with the princess Semele, Bacchus was transported by Mercury to Nysa for safekeeping from Juno’s jealous rage. Nestled in the clouds beside Mercury, the eagle bearing a lightning shaft alludes to the circumstances of Bacchus’s fiery birth. As recounted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Zeus had fallen in love with Semele, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. To punish her wayward consort, Juno tricked Semele into asking the god to appear to her in all his majesty. Powerless to deny her wish, Jupiter came to Semele, who was consumed by fire. However, the baby gestating in her womb was stitched into his father’s thigh and spirited away to Nysa as soon as he was born. In Boucher’s painting, the nymphs marvel at the miraculous infant, whose intoxicating powers as god of the vine are displayed by putti bearing grapes and the leaf-entwined thyrsos with which he will lead his band of followers.