An allegorical painting is a description or figurative treatment of one subject, hidden behind the guise of another subject. For example the figures on the canvas may personify states of the mind
and human emotion, rather than just representing a person. An allegorical image communicates its message to the spectator through symbolic figures, actions and objects; and through other forms of symbolic representation. In essence and allegory is used to convey meaning, idea, principle or a message to its audience. An allegory is therefore a narrative device, for a painting's composition.
Paintings which possessed an allegorical quality to them were popular during the Renaissance.
|Cupid complaining to Venus - by Lucas Cranach|
National Gallery, London