The plot is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. Silenus, educator and companion of the god of viticulture and winemaking of Bacchus, was seized by the peasants and brought to Midas, king of Phrygia. He released Silenus, and Bacchus granted to the king, at his request, the ability to convert everything he touches to gold. But when even food began to turn into gold, the king repented of his greed and prayed for mercy.
Bacchus took pity on Midas and commanded to bathe in the river Paktol. Midas entered the river and immediately got rid of the unfortunate gift, and Pakthol became gold-bearing. The painting shows the moment when the kneeling Midas thanks Bacchus for his release from the fatal gift. In the background, by the river one can see a person on his knees, apparently searching for gold in the river sand.