The Three Ages of Humans

Dosso Dossi (Giovanni de Lutero) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 611

In a lush landscape by the water, the three ages of humankind are represented by two boys peeping behind a bush, two lovers, and two old men. In Italy, landscape painting was inspired by classical literature and aimed to delight the eye while also depicting one or more narratives for viewers to uncover. The old men were added later by the artist, suggesting that the subject was originally a pastoral landscape that Dosso transformed into a narrative of the life cycle. Dosso’s wit, much prized at the court of Ferrara, is seen in the detail of the goats that appear to spy on the young lovers.

The Three Ages of Humans, Dosso Dossi (Giovanni de Lutero) (Italian, Tramuschio ca. 1486–1541/42 Ferrara), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.