Time orders Old Age to destroy Beauty

The painting is signed and dated on the rock on the right: P.B. 1746. An old collection inventory number can be seen in the bottom right-hand corner of the canvas. This was added when the painting was in the Koucheleff Besborodko collection.

The winged figure of Time, who holds an hourglass, has ordered Old Age to destroy Beauty.

The painting was commissioned by the collector Bartolomeo Talenti of Lucca, with its pendant, 'La Lascivia' ('An Allegory of Lasciviousness'; St Petersburg, Hermitage), which is dated 1747. The commission is first referred to in a letter of 4 July 1744 from Batoni to the patron.

Key facts

Artist dates
1708 - 1787
Full title
Time orders Old Age to destroy Beauty
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
135.3 x 96.5 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1961
Inventory number
Location in Gallery