Midas' Golden Touch

Nicholas Poussin--'Midas and Bacchus'

Silenius the Satyr, drunken companion of Dionysus, once fell asleep in the mountains of Phrygia, and was captured by the pesants living there. These pesant brought a chained Silenius before King Midas. Midas, recognising the satyr, released him immediately and brought him the city's shrine ot Dionysus. Greatful to have his friend back, Dionysus agreed to grant Midas anything he desired. Midas asked the god to grant him the ability to trun anything that he touched into gold. Diolysus asked Midas if this is what he really wanted, and upon Midas' assurances, granted his wish. Midas happily returned to his palace, touch everything he passed and turning it instantly into gold. Midas was insanely happy at first, but as time went on he became hungry. Reaching for an apple he tried to take a bite, but instead of a juicy apple his lips were met with an apple of gold. He dropped the apple, and attempted to take a sip of win, but the moment his lips touched the wine it to turned into gold. Spitting out the metalic liquid Midas saw the folly of his wish and begged Dionysus to take back the "gift" he had been given. Assured that the king had learned his lesson, Dionysus told Midas to wash himself in the waters Pactolus. Midas rushed to the river and washed himself, and was returned to normal.


The painting is "Midas and Bacchus" by Nicholas Poussin. More information on Nicholas Poussin can be found in the Senior Humanities section.
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