William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905)
Oil on fabric, Framed: 87.3 x 127 x 5.4 cm (34 3/8 x 50 x 2 1/8 in.); Unframed: 71.3 x 111.8 cm (28 1/16 x 44 in.). Bequest of Noah L. Butkin 1980.238
Part of a series of six paintings that decorated Etienne Bartholony's house in Paris, these paintings emulate ancient Roman designs. Crisp, cut-out forms are set against a gold background painted in imitation of mosaic. Arion was an ancient Greek poet who escaped death by riding away on the back of a sea creature who had been attracted by the poet's song. In the companion picture, a bacchante---a female worshipper of the wine god Bacchus---rides a panther, the god's symbolic animal. These works were shown at the 1857 Paris Salon exhibition.
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