”Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence”

Title: Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence

Author: Titian

Year: 1565

Style: Mannerism

Genre: allegorical painting

Media: oil, canvas

Location: National Gallery, London, UK

The painting portrays three human heads, each facing in a different direction, above three animal heads, depicting (from left) a wolf, a lion and a dog. The painting is usually interpreted as operating on a number of levels. At the first level, the different ages of the three human heads represent the “Three Ages of Man” (youth, maturity, old age). The different directions in which they are facing reflect a second, wider concept of Time itself as having a past, present and future. This theme is repeated in the animal heads which, according to some traditions, are associated with those categories of time.