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The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Birth of Bacchus Gm-00055601

The Birth of Bacchus Gm-00055601

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Giulio Romano (Giulio Pippi) and Workshop (Italian, before 1499–1546)

In a composition, alive with naked, twisting bodies, the story of Bacchus's birth unfolds as a wry commentary on the perils of passion. On discovering that the supreme god Jupiter had impregnated the young mortal Semele, Jupiter’s wife, Juno, hatched a plan to end the love affair. Disguised as Semele's nurse, and knowing that Jupiter's lightning and thunder were lethal, Juno persuaded Semele to ask Jupiter to visit her “in all his glory” so that she could be absolutely certain of his identity. Here, Semele gives birth to Bacchus, who falls into the arms of nymphs below while his mother’s body is consumed by flames. From the top of the clouds, Juno looks apprehensively at her husband, who is armed with thunderbolts, her raised hand and furrowed brow signaling uncertainty and perhaps regret over her violent revenge.

This scene was originally conceived as part of a series of paintings depicting mythological love stories for Federico Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua (reigned 1530 – 1540). Giulio Romano acted as architect for the ducal palace, the Palazzo del Tè, and later became artist to the Mantuan court. While the design of the series was conceived by Giulio himself, it is likely that this work was executed with the help of workshop assistants. The artist’s interest in this subject matter is demonstrated by a drawing of the same subject which is also in the collection of the Getty Museum and illustrates a different composition from that of the painting.


Art Prints are printed on heavy matte finish German art paper using the finest Canon archival inks. Frame is black natural with a white mattboard and Acrylite glazing.

Wall Murals are printed on 42" matte finish, self-adhesive Kodak PhotoText fabric panels that combine and mount easily on a non textured wall surface. We can custom make to any size, just ask.

Stretched Canvas is stretched by hand over 1.5" thick pine bars and printed on cotton poly matte finish canvas. Each canvas is hand coated with Hahnemuhle UV/Archive coating, these are Swiss quality best in industry canvases.


All our images are digitized from the original negative , printed and assembled in Switzerland to museum standards by our master printer.

All of our products are popular and custom made by hand to order, please allow 2-4 weeks to make them and 1-2 weeks for shipment anywhere in the world.

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Artwork in this collection is from The J. Paul Getty Museum. Reproduction rights are reserved by the copyright owner and used under license by Archivea GmbH. .

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