But the dominant theme, which Berryman clearly expresses in the third stanza, is the familiar poetic idea of ars longa, vita brevis
(the Latin version of a Greek aphorism by Hippocrates): the Classical belief that art transcends time and that the painting will last when the people portrayed in it are dead.
The sheet of music Liberti holds is part of a four-part canon on the theme of Ars longa, vita brevis
('Art is long, life is short').
The theme is ars longa, vita brevis
(art is long, life is short), the feeling is conservative, the tone satiric.