If the portraits in “Everyday Gods & Goddesses” seem almost alive — if you think you see their eyes wink as you turn your head, and you wonder if they visit each other, Harry Potter-style, at night — well, that’s just your imagination. But these paintings do have stories, both ancient and modern, behind the canvas. Today’s tale: Bacchus.
“I love a good time, fine wine, and Caravaggio.” — Linda Lawler, placard for Self-Portrait as Bacchus
To close out our series celebrating the stories behind “Everyday Gods & Goddesses,” we turn to the artist herself, and the self-portrait that started it all.
“This was meant as a foil to an otherwise serious landscape show about vineyards,” Linda Lawler explains. After the positive response, she turned to friends and family for her less-than-serious apotheoses.
Our story about Bacchus comes from Euripides’ play The Bacchae, which premiered in 405 B.C. and shows a darker side of the god of the vine. The action revolves around Bacchus’ revenge on his cousin the King of Thebes, and ends with the king limb from limb by a crowd of frenzied Maenads, or followers of Bacchus.
But perhaps the spirit of the painting, and the exhibit in general, is better exemplified by this quote from the play:
“He who best enjoys each passing day is truly blest.”
Good advice from Euripides. And as the days pass, don’t forget — the exhibit ends this Monday, May 6!