The Triumph of Bacchus

Luigi Valadier (1726–1785)
The Triumph of Bacchus, 1780
Agate, alabaster, ancient hardstones, ancient glass paste, gold, gilt metal, and gilt bronze
24 3/4 × 25 × 5 7/8 in. (63 × 63.5 × 15.5 cm);
cameo only, 11 3/8 × 16 1/4 in. (28.8 × 41.2 cm)
Musée du Louvre, Paris
© RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY. Photo: Les frères Chuzeville

In 1780, Valadier mounted a collection of ancient cameos for Pope Pius VI. These had belonged to Cardinal Gaspare Carpegna (1625–1714) before they entered the papal collection. For The Triumph of Bacchus, one of the most celebrated ancient cameos, Valadier created an extraordinarily inventive frame using other ancient cameos and engraved gems. The piece is supported by reduced replicas of two Egyptian lions, which are on the Fountain of the Acqua Felice in Rome.

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