ArtLex Art Dictionary




ttime - A nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future. Or, either a point or an interval in this continuum.

Related terms: duration, period, passage, epoch, era, age, season, cycle, instant, episode, incident, tempo, rhythm, beat, posterity, eternal, infinite, interminable, continuous, persistent, permanent, change, mutable, immutable, indestructable, posthumous, and immortal.

Time is an important factor in a number of art forms. It is crucial to literature (narrative, etc.), music, dance and theater of course. In visual art, time is an element in automata, mobiles, and kinetic sculpture; animation is a time-based art, as is cinema, video, and much of new media. An artist can imply the passage of time in a static piece of work by incorporating rhythm or periodicity, and when evoking history or the future (think about memories, metamorphoses, allegories, and palimpsests).

It is artificial to remove time from life, and various cultures have chosen to recognize  annual observances of art-related events. Among these are artists' birthdays, and other specially designated days, weeks, and months of every year. Those on the following chart are officially recognized in the United States of America.

The Twelve Months'
Special Designations
Creativity Month

Women's History Month

Youth Art Month (YAM)

Craft Month

Music in the Schools Month

Irish American Heritage Month

Kite Month

Garden Month

Poetry Month
Zoo and Aquarium Month
Success in School Month
Polish American History Month
Read A New Book Month


Examples of art concerned with time in various ways:



see thumbnail to leftParis, France, Watch: Young Louis XIV on Horseback, c. 1650, enamel, gold, diameter 2 5/16 inches (5.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See horology.





see thumbnail to rightEadweard Muybridge (American, born England, 1830-1904), Animal Locomotion Plate 59: Running Man, c. 1887, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, photographs taken by a series of cameras. Muybridge printed these as sheets of sequenced exposures, although they are displayed here as if projected like a movie — a technological development Muybridge is considered to have pioneered. See Eadweard Muybridge photos reproduced at the "Masters of Photography" site. See movement.



see thumbnail to leftEadweard Muybridge, Jumping a hurdle; saddle; bay horse Daisy Plate 640 of Animal Locomotion, 1887, collotype, Worcester Art Museum, MA. See animation, cinema, and equine art.




see thumbnail to rightPaul Manship (American, 1886-1966), Time and the Fates Sundial, 1938, bronze, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C. See Art Deco.



Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976). See mobile.


see thumbnail aboveJoseph Kosuth (American, 1945-), Clock (One and Five), English / Latin version, 1965, clock, photograph and printed texts on paper, unique, 61.0 x 290.2 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See conceptual art and horology.







Related Links:



Also see art conservation, art restoration, choose, four-dimensional, chronology, heritage, horology, kinesiologist, measure, movement, science and art, space-time, and tradition.




ArtLex Art Dictionary
Copyright © 1996-current year