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Art / Allegory of the Four Seasons (Manfredi)

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Allegory of the Four Seasons is a painting by Italian painter and Caravaggisti member Bartolomeo Manfredi.

As the name implies, the painting depicts the four seasons of the year personified as people sharing a room. As a painting that emerged from the Caravaggisti (a group of painters who took to the style of Caravaggio), Allegory of the Four Seasons is an Early-Baroque painting coming fresh from the Mannerist movement.

The painting is currently in the permanent collection of the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio.


Allegory of the Four Seasons provides examples of:

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Each of the four figures in the piece represents the four seasons. The figures to the left are Spring and Autumn, the woman facing the viewer is Summer and the old man in furs is Winter.
  • Chiaroscuro: While not as strong as other paintings that employ the technique at the time, intense light and shadow is present.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Autumn and spring kissing represents the union of day and night at the equinox.
    • Summer's hair is decorated with wheat stalks, a crop often associated with the season.
    • Winter is the oldest of the four, representing how the season sets the end of the year, bundled in furs as shielding from the cold.
  • Shout-Out: The crown of ivy and tendrils worn by Autumn is made to give him a resemblance to Bacchus, Roman God of Wine and Fertility.
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  • Side Boob: Complete with bare nipple in the case of Summer.