Joseph Southall (1861-1944):
Bacchus and Ariadne, circa 1912
Framed (ref: 582)
Watercolour over pencil on card, varnished;
7 x 9 1/2 in.(18 x 24.2 cm.)
Provenance: Alan Fortunoff;The Fine Art Society
Exhibited: Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, April–June 2005, no. 13
Literature: John Christian, The Last Romantics, exh. cat., Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1989, p. 105, no. 73; Peyton Skipwith, Joseph Southall: Sixty Works from the Fortunoff Collection, exh. cat.,The Fine Art Society,
London, 2005, p. 84
‘Southall’s tempera technique and flat decorative style give a curiously “frozen” quality to all his work, but the effect is particularly striking here where the subject is one of passionate eroticism. There are a number of other typical features: the somewhat awkward anatomy, the striped patterns on the draperies, the “chorus” figures at the upper right, and the white rabbits lower left’ (John Christian, The Last Romantics, exh. cat., Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1989, p.105).
This is a quarter-size study for the tempera painting first exhibited at the 1913 Salon of the Societé National des Beaux-arts, Paris (see Joseph Southall 1861–1944:Artist–Craftsman, Birmingham 1980, p. 42, no. B10).
The figure of Bacchus bears similarities to that in Tintoretto’s painting of Ariadne,Venus and Bacchus 1576 (Ducal Palace,Venice).