One of the many stages of European art is symbolist art. In this period of art history one sees the works of, among many others, Tiziano Veccellio or also known as Titian. The Allegory of Prudence and The Three Ages of Man are two pieces that have, with the use of symbolism, depicted the past, present and future of all human life.
In The Three Ages of Man, Titian uses young infants, adolescents, mature adults and even old trees to show the three different periods in a man or woman's life. In other words, the birth, growth, maturity and death. This is also consistent with the structuring of the painting. Titian first shows the babies then the young lady followed by the couple and the tree being pushed over by the babies to make room for them. Furthermore, this is arranged in a circular pattern that represents the circle of life.
In The Allegory of Prudence, Titian utilises animals to show the evolution of human life. One again there is a disctinctive pattern emerging because the animals used each represent the past, present and future of human life. At this point, Titian reveals his motives. Instead of placing them in order of increasing age from left to right, to show the past, present and future, he places them exactly the opposite order, which in fact has the same meaning as The Three Stages of Man. Once again he demonstrates the ambition of youth by making it look into the future, the "the strength and glory", page 10, of adulthood by living in the present and the inadaptability of old age by making it live in the past, eventually making way for the younger.
Overall, it seems as if the three main periods of life, in the two paintings, are similar in that they both promote the procreation of mankind by demonstrating the circle of life. In The Three Stages of Man, the tree, which is the old man, is pushed over to make way for the new born while in The Allegory of Prudence, the young man is looking forward as if the future is to be taken over by all the young people of the world.