Exhausted Maenads after the Dance, 1874
Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1911)
In 1863 Lourens (later ‘Lawrence’) Alma-Tadema travelled to Italy. His work was subsequently influenced by this exposure to Rome and Pompeii. Instead of subjects from Egyptian and medieval history he now began to paint mainly scenes from classical antiquity. This painting shows three maenads, female devotees of the Roman wine god Bacchus, who have fallen into an exhausted sleep after a festival in veneration of the god. These licentious festivities, which featured music, dancing and a great deal of drink, were one of Alma-Tadema’s favourite subjects.