Thursday

Le bassin de Bacchus en automne


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What a melancholy sight Bacchus and his four little satyrs make on a cold November day. You can see ice crystals on the grapes so it must be early morning. Imagine the temperature of the lead underneath the gilded plomb doré. Until March, when the women will gather in secret to celebrate the rituals of wine and liberation, the party's over..

The Marsy brothers, Balthazar (c. 1624-1681) and Gaspard (1628-1674) were sculptors employed by King Louis XIV. They created the Fountain of Bacchus for the King's gardens at Versailles, along with the Fountain of Latone, mother of Apollo and Artemis, and the Fountain of Enceladus, the grand trumpeter. If Bacchus was a god of excess, Louis XIV was his fervent acolyte. Fully a third of the cost of the renovations to Versailles was spent on the waterworks to supply its 50 fountains. Thanks to Louis XIV, water is a problem at Versailles to this day.