Study for 'A Dance to the Music of Time' by Nicolas Poussin

This is the only surviving drawing by Poussin for the painting A Dance to the Music of Time, now in the Wallace Collection, London.


Pen, brown ink & brown wash on paper
14.8 x 19.8 cm
Art Fund grant:
£50,000 ( Total: £160,000)
Acquired in:
Christopher Loyd Charitable Trust

The picture is a moral allegory on the subjection of all human life to the rule of time. The dance is being performed to the lyre of Father Time and two putti are seen playing with an hourglass and blowing bubbles respectively. It depicts a circle of man's fortune with the allegorical figures of Poverty, Industry, Riches and Pleasure forming a circular movement. Above, the Sun is driving his chariot through the zodiac.


Commissioned in 1639 by Cardinal Guilio Rospogliosi; P. Crozat; P.Mariette; Lord Overstone; Christopher Lloyd.

Venue details

Scottish National Gallery The Mound, EDINBURGH Edinburgh EH2 2EL 0131 624 6200

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