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ID number:  BIRBI-65.6
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Ribera, José de (1591-1652)
Title / Object name:  Drunken Silenus
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Valencia
Culture:  Spanish
Date made:  1628
Materials:  Etching with engraving
Provenance:  Purchased from Craddock & Barnard, 16 June 1965, for £80

The classical god Silenus gained special wisdom when drinking wine and consequently was often depicted drunk. In this skilful adaptation of his own painting, Ribera fully exploits the considerable humorous potential of the subject in a satirical celebration of drunken debauchery. Silenus’s obese and slumped form wittily conveys his state of habitual inebriation, while subverting the conventional bodily perfection of the gods.
Unrestrained sexual appetite is suggested by the accompanying satyrs and satyresses, who like Silenus, were followers of Bacchus, the god of wine and fertility.

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