There's a common thread that runs through a lot of great art and literature ... the cyclical nature of life and the rhythms of what people do and feel ... some artists do complicated stuff, others try to keep it simple ... but every point of view has much to teach us
for my taste, poussin's allegorical scenes are much to fussy and contrived
but i framed poussin's sketch a couple of years ago because it seemed less contrived and much more lively than his painting
here's a note about it wot i found in a wikipedia article
At the start of Anthony Powell's series of novels named after the painting the narrator, Nicolas Jenkins, reflects on it in the first two pages of A Question of Upbringing:
- These classical projections, and something from the fire, suddenly suggested Poussin's scene in which the Seasons, hand in hand and facing outward, tread in rhythm to the notes of the lyre that the winged and naked greybeard plays. The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outward like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure, stepping slowly, methodically sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance.