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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Completed in 1526, this painting is also sometimes referred to as The Bacchanal of the Andrians and is a key highlight in the collection of the Museo del Prado in Madrid

This was to be a key period in Titian's career, having completed the world-famous Bacchus and Ariadne in 1523. The Bacchanal of the Andrians was a similarly complex piece, combining figurative painting with landscape as well as a reclining nude in the bottom right corner.

There are clear similarities between these two paintings, with an abundance of activity across both canvases, as well as a near identical colour palette. Titian was displaying confidence and development as an artist by this stage, settled in his career and also experimenting less at this stage. Titian's influence on other major artists has never been in doubt - Peter Paul Rubens is believed to have even made his own copy of the work for his own amusement and development.

The majority of Titian's most famous paintings are large in scale, such was the style during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. This particular artwork measures 175cm tall by 193cm wide and features around 16 figures in total, making it a major artwork. The artist would likely have produced multiple study sketches in preparation for this composition, possibly with the aid of his studio assistants.

The landscape setting is of the island of Andros, a dreamy location where rivers flow with wine, courtesy of Bacchus. The figures in the foreground celebrate their love of wine, dancing and laughing with the artist depicting a positive reflection on alcohol and its role in socialising in Europe at this time. This portrait reminds us, in theme, of the work of William Hogarth, who promoted Beer versus Gin in his satirical series.