Shown here is a depiction of Bacchus consoling Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete. Abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos after having helped him escape from the Minotaur's labyrinth, Bacchus found and rescued her, and they were married shortly afterwards. Dalou has depicted the god embracing Ariadne and accompanied by an infant satyr attendant.
The present model may have served as an esquisse, or sketch, for a more cohesive execution in marble depicting the same subject (completed in 1894, Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts). A plaster study of Bacchus and Ariadne (1892) is currently housed in the Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, accompanied by other sketches for the artist's various works. Many of these esquisses were eventually cast in bronze, most notably by Hébrard.
Another example of this cast sold Christie's London, 15 July 1993, lot 243 (£4,830).