Bacchus, wearing an armour, is crowning Ariadne. The two are on a golden chariot drawn by panthers and are accompanied by a maenad and a satyr bearing a thyrsus (a branch decorated with vine leaves and ivy). Silenus, the satyr with goat’s ears, carries a basket filled with grapes. The scene is taken from Ovid, who relates that Bacchus, returning from his victorious expedition to India, found Ariadne on the isle of Naxos, where she had been abandoned by Theseus, and married her.
By the last years of the fifteenth century Cima da Conegliano had already become one of the most prominent artists in Venice. Apart from painting religious subjects, Cima explored classical themes in a number of works and became one of the greatest interpreters of the antiquarian taste, so popular at the beginning of the sixteenth century.