The present work depicts a bacante; a follower of Bacchus: the god of wine and merriment. The riotous and sensual connotations associated with Bacchus are hinted at here in the unabashed pose of the young bacante, as well as the tamborine she holds and the flowers scattered around her- suggesting the remnants of a celebration. This classically inspired subject reflects the impact of Sorolla's visit to Rome in 1885. Sorolla studied a number of works by the great masters during his sojourn in the eternal city, and during the following years he painted a number of works with Italian or Classical themes including Mesalina en brazos del gladiador, 1886 (fig. 1).
Bacante highlights Sorolla's early highly-finished and academic style, that contrasts so greatly with the Impressionistic tendencies that he developed later in life. Here we see a greater concentration on the depiction of detail, as well as an emphasis on tight brush-work, giving the work a jewel-like quality.