250 x 235 x 92 cm
early 20th century
In the Greek myth, Ariadne, the princess of Crete, fell in love with the Athenian hero, Theseus, and helped him defeat the bull-headed Minotaur. After Theseus sailed away from Crete, he left Ariadne on the island of Naxos, where she was found by Dionysos, who married her. The larger-than-life statue shows her between these two events, lying on a rock, sleeping unaware of her lover’s departure. Ariadne’s upper arm is adorned with an armlet that imitates a snake. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this led to the identification of the statue as Cleopatra, since the Egyptian queen is said to have died of snakebite.