Simon Vouet - Father Time is attacked by beauty, hope and love

by Alexandra Tuschka


An old, bearded man with black wings lies on the ground and vehemently defends himself against the attack of two women. These are accompanied by numerous putti, which support the ladies. Protectively, the old man pushes one woman away from him, the other is his angry gaze. Some feathers, which father time already lost with the fight, lie clearly recognizably in the picture foreground. He has not yet let go of his attribute, the hourglass.

The women, on the other hand, are amused by this process. The one on the left is Venus, goddess of beauty. She pulls the old man by the hair and lifts the lance effortlessly to the death blow. She looks at the viewer while smiling. Venus is naked and surrounded only by a red drapery; the sea in the background refers to her origin as a foam-born. Hope on the left has armed herself with an anchor. Her posture is dynamic, as if dancing. She is dressed in a red dress and a wreath of flowers. The scene is embedded in a rocky and natural environment.


Vouet, who is considered a pioneer of the French Baroque, endows his allegories with numerous attributes to make them recognizable. Thus, Father Time, in addition to the hourglass, has already lost the scythe, also a symbol of transience, on the ground. Love is symbolized by the three little cupids, whose efforts to win seem almost sweet compared to the two women. It is clear - in this image, unlike reality, beauty can successfully defeat time.


Simon Vouet - Father Time is attacked by beauty, hope and love

Oil on canvas, 1627, 107 x 142 cm, Prado in Madrid

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