The Bargello, Florence, Italy

Bacchus
Michelangelo
1496-98


Click here to go to Donatello's David.
Click here to go to Giovanni Bologna's Mercury.
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The drunken Bacchus

An early work commissioned for a sculpture garden, Bacchus was supposed to resemble an ancient work. This Roman god of wine is unstable, as if defying gravity. Unlike the heroic, masculine nudes of Michelangelo's maturity, Bacchus seems androgynous, with soft rather than muscular flesh.

 

Side view with satyr

The satyr, necessary as a support, replaces the tree trunk used in antique works. The satyr also helps to move the eye around the work which has several viewing points.

 

Back view

Unlike Giovanni Bologna, Michelangleo is interested in textures: fatty layers, hair, grapes, curls. He uses a number of elements from antiquity: the kylix (wine cup), vine leaves, the satyr, the animal skin, the drill holes in the base and the purposely broken member.

Front and side view of Bacchus' head

Details of the satyr, the drill holes in the base, and the purposely broken member

 



See also the Bargello site in Florence.


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© 1999 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. (I would appreciate being told if you find them useful.) They are not available for commercial purposes without my explicit permission.

Page maintained by Mary Ann Sullivan, sullivanm@bluffton.edu