Bacchanal or The vintage festival
23 Feb 1879 - 21 Nov 1969
The eroticism of Lindsay's images defied the pervasive hypocrisy and wowserism of the time. Rubery Bennett, the artist's agent gave the following account of a bishop's response to Lindsay's subjects:
"A Bishop came in one day accompanied by a lesser dignitary of the church and asked could he see some of Norman's etchings - afterwards I thought he probably meant Lionel's. However, we had a big folio and we used to allow the lid to fall down and let the etchings fall flat on the lid. He saw about four or five and then he slammed the folio shut and in a most outraged and dignified manner told me that they were frightful, vulgar and obscene, in fact, that they reminded him of a lot of prostitutes. My reply was that I bowed to his superior knowledge as I had never seen a nude prostitute. When I told Norman he said 'Bloody Liar!'. "
The vintage festival
pencil, pen and black ink on ivory wove paper
28.2 x 25.3 cm image; 32.6 x 28.4 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pen and black ink "NORMAN LINDSAY". Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Society of Artists Spring Exhibition (1907), Society Rooms, Queen Victoria Markets, Sydney, 16 Aug 1907 -
Exhibition & auction sale: Paintings by Arthur Streeton (1923), Farmer's Exhibition Hall, Sydney, 27 Nov 1923–28 Nov 1923
Stampede of the Lower Gods: Classical Mythology in Australian Art 1890's-1930's, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Oct 1989–26 Nov 1989
The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Aug 1990–28 Oct 1990
The Legendary Lindsays:
Bodyline, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, 03 Feb 2001–08 Apr 2001
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
Referenced in 8 publications
Deborah Edwards, Stampede of the Lower Gods: Classical Mythology in Australian Art, 'The Antipodean Arcady / 'When Pan purloined Apollo's lyre'', pg. 8-31, Sydney, Sep 1989, 18 (illus.), 19, 63.
Gavin Fry, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'J.J. Hilder / Blamire Young / Norman Lindsay', pg. 72-87, Sydney, 2002, 82, 83 (colour illus.), 145, 147.
Sydney Ure Smith and Leon Gellert (Editors), Art in Australia [series 3, no. 40], Sydney, 15 Oct 1931. plate no. 14. Entry as "Bacchanal. In the possession of Arthur Streeton Esq."
Hendrik Kolenberg, The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1990. cat.no. 48
Ursula Prunster, The legendary Lindsays, Sydney, 1995, 37 (illus.).
Unknown (Compilator), Catalogue exhibition and sale of paintings by Arthur Streeton, Sydney, Nov 1923, 10, 14 (illus.). cat.no. 6; titled 'The Bacchanal'
Author Unknown, Pen Drawings of Norman Lindsay, Sydney, 1918. plate no. XIX. Entry as "Bacchanal. 1905. Collection of Arthur Streeton."
Society of Artists Exhibition, New South Wales, 1907. cat.no. 17. Entry as "A Bacchanal. Black and White, 15gns."