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Sr. Contributor

This is one of those paintings more than happy to remind everyone that you can't spell 'bacchanal' without 'anal.'

Lovis was going for an ancient Greek burlesque kind of theme. He loved to do a funny take on popular and serious subjects, like the temptation of Saint Anthony. Granted, a bacchanal is low hanging comedic fruit compared with Saint Anthony's spirit quest. For the uninitiated, a bacchanal is a raucous, drunken party with orgy overtones. Really, bacchanal can mean either the party-goers or the party itself. A bacchant, however, only refers to the party-goer side of things. The only question I'm left with is what kind of look Mrs. Corinth gave Lovis when she saw him working on this little diddy. 

The foreground bacchants are plagiarized from William-Adolphe Bouguereau's Education of Bacchus. Something like that was bound to happen, since Corinth did a ton of bacchanal scenes. Museums the world over have old gross Lovie's sketches of bacchanalias describing varying degrees of depravity. He probably felt super knowledgeable on the subject since he was just shy of being an alcoholic. The guy drank so much that he stretched a lost weekend over almost a decade. Might have given him that extra connection to the subject matter. After a massive stroke, Corinth changed his ways and took to painting proper. Started a nice career gaining a good deal of fame off of boundary-breaking expressionism. The most important boundary this Bacchanal breaks, however, is the inclusion of Danny DeVito front and center decades before the actor was ever born.


Proof positive that this bacchanal (aka drunken orgy) was painted by a man:

1) The girls outnumber boys and satyrs.

2) The girls are all fit and trim, but only one of the boys is.  The other man is extremely fat and also extremely terrifying.

Mystery features:

1) Why is one of the girls carrying a pointy stick? Of what possible use could this be in a bacchanal? On second thought, don't answer that.

2) Why is there a long red banner stretched out behind the partiers? It looks like a "police line do not cross" crime scene tape. Maybe explains the pointy stick.