In Cornelis Holsteijn’s work, he focused mainly on painting historical allegories and mythological themes. The artist was probably trained by his father, who was a glass painter.
This painting depicts Dionysus, god of wine and unbridled merriment, and his mistress Semele. He is comfortably seated on a leopard skin, with a typical vine wreath on his head, in the embrace of naked women and a satyr servant, pouring wine into a large ornate cup. The scene is set in open countryside, in the shelter of rocks. In the trees, two small satyrs play and the grouping is accompanied by a goat.