Frank Auerbach

Bacchus and Ariadne

1971

Medium
Oil paint on board
Dimensions
Support: 1223 x 1530 mm
frame: 1387 x 1693 x 90 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the executors of the estate of David Wilkie 1993
Reference
T06687

Display caption

Auerbach based this painting on Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne (1522-3) in the National Gallery, London. Titian depicts the Roman god of wine with his dissolute followers, catching sight of Ariadne, whom he married and transformed into a constellation of stars. Adapting the figures, trees and clouds of the original painting into a vivid network of lines and gestural brushwork, Auerbach conveys a powerful sense of energy and movement. 'I mean to make it as extreme as possible', he told the collector David Wilkie, who commissioned the painting.

Gallery label, August 2004