Gian Lorenzo Bernini was the heroic central figure in Italian Baroque sculpture. The influence of his father, the Florentine-born Pietro, can be seen here in the buoyant forms and cottony texture of the Bacchanal. The liveliness and strongly accented diagonals, however, are the distinctive contribution of the young Gian Lorenzo. Although about eighteen when he made this work, he already displayed what would become a lifelong interest in the rendering of emotional and spiritual exaltation. The Bacchanal reveals the young Bernini's intensive study of bacchic subject matter.
House of Gian Lorenzo Bernini , Rome (in 1706; listed in 1706 estate inventory) ; [ sale, Palais Galliéra , Paris, May 26, 1972, no. 74, as by Giambologna ] ; [ sale, Christie, Manson and Woods , London, March 21, 1973, no. 191, as by Luigi Bienaimé ] ; [ Art market , Switzerland (by January 1975) ] ; [ Di Castro, Rome , 1975 ] ; [ P. & D. Colnaghi & Co. (by November 1975–76; sold to MMA) ]