One of the exhibitions currently on display in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum celebrates a favorite combination of topics. Called “Art and Wine”, the exhibit focuses on the ways this fruit of the vine has influenced art and artists over the centuries. Indeed, this event has many associations with the Greek god Dionysos (who, incidentally, is also known as Bacchus).
What initially captured my attention, actually, was the image of Bacchus by artist Jan van Dalen used to represent the event. It’s just brilliant. In this painting, the god of wine looks a little, well frankly, a lot tipsy. Bacchus is portrayed as an affable fellow who has rosy cheeks, a wild mane of hair adorned with a spray of unruly ivy, and an expression that says, “Here, come and share this wine with me. I’ve already sampled it, and it’s a good vintage. Hic!”. He even extends a glass full of pale, shimmering wine to the viewer. How can you resist such an enticing invitation?
The information about the exhibition includes the following background :
“One of the earliest plants cultivated by man, wine played a pivotal role in the social and religious life of classical antiquity. In Ancient Greece and Rome wine was associated with Dionysus/Bacchus, patron of the theatre and guardian deity of law and order - as well as the master of orgiastic festivals.”
However, paintings of inebriated Classical gods aren’t the only thing to see at this exhibit. There are also treasures such as goblets, tapestries depicting mythological scenes, and tempting paintings of luscious grapes all available to enjoy.
Read more about the exhibit, and see tantalizing glimpses of some of the works of art on display, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum web site. Please note, however, that while the brief description of the event is translated into English, the names of the art works are not. Be that as it may, a picture is still worth a thousand words.
While the exhibition in the Kunsthistorisches Museum ends on September 2, 2012, hopefully “Art and Wine” will continue to be available online for some time. After all, seeing that painting of Bacchus I described makes it well worth the visit.