Various Ways the Passage of Time is Portrayed


This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.

In the beginning of the class, I struggled a bit with how the passage of time, one of the formal elements, can be portrayed. I chose this topic as my theme in order to learn more about it and the variety of ways it can be demonstrated. In doing the research about this theme, I have gained a better understanding of the element of time. The passage of time can clearly be seen in the components of the artwork such as through time of day, old age, light, and numerous other ways throughout the pieces I have chosen for my gallery. People viewing this gallery should pay close attention to the different objects and techniques that various artists with different perspectives have used to show how time passes.

Jean Morin, Memento Mori (The Skull), an etching after Philippe de Champaigne, 1625/1650, From the collection of: British Museum
This first piece of work in my gallery is a great example of the passage of time. First of all, the skull represents death and that a life has come to an end. The petals that are falling off of the flowers that are in the vase are showing that the flower is withering/dying since it has been cut away from the original plant which gave it life. There is also a pocket watch present, which directly represents literal time passing through hours, minutes, and seconds. The artist used the technique of etching, which helped him to work on a larger scale and more rapidly.
Sunset 5, Diego Rivera, 1956, From the collection of: Museo Dolores Olmedo
This oil and tempura painting on cardboard of a sunset is just one of the many sunsets painted by Diego Rivera. A sunset is a great example to show the passing of time. As the sun sets, it creates a reflection in the water and indicates that day is coming to an end. This breathtaking view can inspire those looking at it to feel awe and amazement at such a sight. Many warm tones are used in this painting to add to the peaceful feeling.
A Pause in the City That Never Sleeps, Sebastian Errazuriz, 2015-01-01/2015-01-31, From the collection of: Times Square Arts
The purpose of this installation is to suggest a pause in time, rather than demonstrate time passing. It is placed in Times Square in the "city that never sleeps" which is constantly moving. It ties in with the theme because it is proposing a specific time where the city should be peaceful. I chose to include this because it is a photograph rather than a painting, and it is a modern way to show time. It creates a different kind of passage of time by the replication of the same image, which also shows a pattern. After reading about this installation, I learned that it was a video of a man yawning in black and white and this was to be used as a contrast to the usual over stimulating artwork found in Times Square. The artist, Sebastian Errazuriz, is trying to wake up society and have the people connect with each other. He wanted to create a tranquil pause in the city.
Clock and Telephone, Rufino Tamayo, 1925, From the collection of: Museo Nacional de Arte
One of the most obvious ways time can be seen is with a clock. I included this piece as a simple demonstration of time. The telephone connected to the clock can also represent time because talking on the phone with another person is a way to pass the time. The simple forms and block-like edges of the clock and telephone represent Cubism. It shows a static way of the passage of time.
Vanitas - Still Life with Books and Manuscripts and a Skull, Edwaert Collier, 1663, From the collection of: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
We talked about "Vanitas" in class and it really stuck out to me because each object in the painting represents time in some way. I never knew there were so many approaches to portray time and in such detail. There are objects in the painting that you would never consider to be a representation of time until looking at this specific painting. This painting is meant for contemplation and reflection. It also demonstrates the wealth of whom the painting was intended to be made for. An hour glass, a candle with smoke, and a recorder are just a few of the different ways time is shown in this work. Collier uses these objects as precursors to death as well.
Old woman examining a coin by a lantern (Sight or Avarice), Gerrit van Honthorst, 1623, From the collection of: The Kremer Collection
In this painting, time can be seen in two obvious ways. One way is through the old age of the woman and her wrinkly skin, denoting that she has lived a long life. The other way time is shown is by the candle burning in the lantern, diminishing its wick. This painting can also be seen as a pause in time, a moment singled out in the continuously moving world. Strong chiaroscuro can be seen in this. The artist is also introducing realism in this piece.
A Woman playing a Clavichord, Gerrit Dou, c.1665, From the collection of: Dulwich Picture Gallery
Another way the passage of time can be represented is through music. After a certain amount of time, every song must come to an end. In "A Woman playing a Clavichord", it can be seen that it is an enjoyable way to pass the time instead of a burden. On the table, there is an open book, most likely denoting sheet music to a song. It can also be seen that the time of day at which she is playing appears to be evening, another portrayal of time.
Piedra del Sol, unknown, 1250/1500, From the collection of: Museo Nacional de Antropología, México
I have chosen this picture of an Aztec Calendar Stone to represent my counterpoint in the gallery. The way it differs from the rest of the artwork in this collection is that it is an object that keeps track of time rather than a painting or a drawing that represents time in objects. The Aztecs used this stone as a calendar based on the way the sun hit it at various times throughout the day for it would cast a shadow. Certain shadows represented different events throughout the year. It was used as a chronological and astronomical device. The stone weighs more than 24 tons and was discovered around 1790.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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