Eugène Delacroix
(Charenton-Saint-Maurice, 1798-1863, Paris)
Triumph of Amphitrite, ca. 1861
Oil on canvas, 92 x 143 cm
Johnson 252
The "Triumph of Bacchus" and the "Triumph of Amphitrite", created in 1861, after the hard labour for the mural "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel" in the church of St. Sulpice, seem like a refreshing pause for breath, a cheerful resting on laurels. Designed as companion-pieces for supra-portals, there comes to life on them the carefree pantheon in the light-hearted fancy of the artist: Bacchus with the thyrsus enthroned on the festive car drawn by pards and attended by satyrs, nymphs and cupids. Corresponding to this procession, with its mad revelry, moving to the left, is, in the opposite direction, Amphitrite, the spouse of Poseidon, riding on the back of a sea-horse through the waves, attended by tritons and merrily gambolling cupids. The dominant colour in both pictures is the turquoise of the sky, before which appear the ebulliently sketched divinities on pale clouds, and this is in keeping both with the subject and the elevated position of the paintings as supra-portals.