On the island of Naxos, Bacchus, the god of wine and debauchery, meets Ariadne, who Theseus had abandoned, falls in love with her and weds her. The drawing probably served a similar, ultimately decorative purpose as another, a few years older Natoire work in the Städel Museum's collection: "Jacob and Rachel at the well" (obj. no. 1287 Z). Both works show a comparable encounter between a lovers couple; the somewhat freer drawing style of Bacchus and Ariadne is explained by the later creation of the sheet.