Mercury hands the nymphs of the infant Bacchus by Francois Boucher

Mercury hands the nymphs of the infant Bacchus by Francois Boucher

A painting by French painter rococo Francois Boucher “Mercury hands the babies nymphs Bacchus.” The size of the painting is 273 x 202 cm, canvas, oil. In the center of this picture the infant Bacchus, born from the extramarital affair of Zeus with the princess Semeloy, daughter of Cadmus and Harmony. Then Hera, in anger at her rival, decided to destroy Semele.

Taking on the face of Berioi, Semela’s nurse, she inspired Semele to see for herself that her beloved Zeus is really the deity for which she is giving herself, and for this she asks Zeus to appear to her in all the splendor of her greatness, with thunder and lightning. Forced by the oath to fulfill Semele’s request, Zeus appeared before her in the flame of the Peruns; The mortal woman could not stand the heavenly fire and was burnt. Premature in the womb of the mother, Zeus saved from death by putting it in his thigh and, when the time came, produced Bacchus and gave the baby Mercury, instructing him to hide from Hera.

Tricky Mercury in turn handed the baby Bacchus to the nymphs of the river Nisa in order to fulfill the will of Zeus, to hide the child from the wrath of the jealous wife Zeus Hera and not to suffer himself. According to a more ancient myth, recounted by Euripides in the work of the Bacchante, Bacchus, already capable of life, left the flame of Zeus unscathed; columns of royal rest have let out of themselves green branches of an ivy, under a cool canopy of which the baby has escaped.

In the picture of Boucher, the nymphs are amazed at the amazing baby, who, as the future god of winemaking, is given power by Zeus to putty in the form of a vine.

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