The Sleep of Bacchus

Luca Giordano1680/1690

Fondazione Cariplo

Fondazione Cariplo
Milan, Italy

When The Sleep of Bacchus was purchased by Cariplo in 1982, Carlo Bertelli, then Soprintendente ai Beni Artistici e Storici in Milan, wrote a letter in which he authenticated the attribution to Giordano, indicating the similarities with the work in the Hermitage In 1995 Marina Mojana acknowledged the links with the Bacchus and Ariadne in the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia , suggesting a date around 1680. It must, however, have been painted after 1679, since it was in that year that the Barberini Faun was restored, which is now in the Glyptothek in Munich , and as Oreste Ferrari notes in the monograph on the artist (first published in 1966) this was the model for the figure of Bacchus. The composition is interesting since the artist has arranged shepherds and satyrs, cupids and nymphs around the god who is lying sprawled out asleep, having downed too much wine, while all kinds of animals including a tiger on a leash look on. This seeming confusion is rendered harmonious by the landscape depicted at sunset, whose tonal quality is reminiscent of Venetian painting. The taste for naturalistic description makes this work reminiscent of the themes so dear to Il Grechetto. In fact, it seems likely that Luca Giordano, almost half a century later, reprised motifs borrowed from this artist from Genoa, who lived in Naples from 1635 to 1639.


  • Title: The Sleep of Bacchus
  • Creator: Luca Giordano
  • Date: 1680/1690
  • Physical Dimensions: w327 x h245 cm (Without frame)
  • Exhibition: Palazzo Confalonieri, via Romagnosi, 8, Milano
  • Provenance: Cariplo Foundation, 1982
  • Type: Painting, oil on canvas
  • Rights: http://www.artgate-cariplo.it/en/disclaimer.html
  • External Link: www.artgate-cariplo.it

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