After his apprenticeship years in Italy, Altomonte returned home and turned his attention primarily to the decoration of Austrian monasteries. He is considered the last major representative of classical baroque allegory.
This oil sketch is a study for a ceiling fresco in the state-room in Schloss Neuwartenburg in Timelkam/Vöcklabruck, in Upper Austria. Chronos, mythological personification of Time, symbolises not only the endurance but also the transience of being. He holds a hoop representing the eternal recurrence of the cyclical – here the four seasons. Grouped on clouds below are tambourine-playing Spring, fruit-laden Summer, and an allegory of Autumn with a sickle and a sheaf of corn. In the style of baroque chiaroscuro, an old man, personifying Winter, sits by a brazier. The encircling rainbow symbolises perpetual new beginning.