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Four Paintings That Teach Powerful Lessons About Life

Seth Adam Smith

In 1842, American artist Thomas Cole created a series of allegorical paintings entitled: The Voyage of Life. These symbolic images are, without a doubt, my favorite paintings—for they have taught me some of the most valuable lessons about life.

But before I get into that, please watch the video below. It gives an excellent overview of the four paintings.

The first painting, Childhood, represents the warmth and innocence of our early years. Emerging from a mysterious cave is a boat, guided by an angel. Sitting in the boat is an infant, overjoyed to begin his voyage through life. At first glance, it would appear as though this infant’s life is to be nothing but smooth sailing in paradise.

The second painting, Youth, represents the romantic and naive ambition of our adolescence. Imagining himself an expert, the young man takes control of the tiller and sails forward, eager to chase his dreams (depicted as a castle in the clouds)…

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