Trompe-l'oeil paintings by Sauvage and from his workshop often were loosely based on classical friezes or contemporary sculptures. In this case the design was inspired by a Clodion relief (Musée du Louvre, Paris) for the courtyard of the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé, which was built between the summer of 1780 and the first months of 1782. A terracotta model for the relief is in this Museum (59.87.1). Infant Bacchanal is one of a pair of overdoors imitating bronze and depicting putti at play in Bacchic revels. Symbols of the Roman god Bacchus abound: a putto carries grapes, a satyr pulls them from an overturned amphora, and other putti wear wreaths of grape leaves. The figure seated on the back of the goat holds Bacchus's thyrsus and must be the god himself.
[Katharine Baetjer and Francesca Whitlum-Cooper 2010]