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Time personified

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Title: Time personified  
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Subject: Kāla (time)
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Time personified

This article is about the personification of time. For the weathervane at Lord's Cricket Ground, see Old Father Time. For other uses, see Father Time (disambiguation).
A 19th century Father Time with Baby New Year
Detail of Father Time in the Rotunda Clock (1896) by John Flanagan, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
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Father Time in Fountain of Time
Allegorical Portrait of Elizabeth I with Old Father Time at her right in the background and Death at her left (dated around 1610)

Father Time is the anthropomorphized depiction of time.


Father Time is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, dressed in a robe and carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device (which represents time's constant one-way movement, and more generally and abstractly, entropy). This image derives from several sources, including the Grim Reaper and Chronos: Greek God of Time.

Around New Year's Eve many editorial cartoons use the convenient trope[1] of Father Time as the personification of the previous year (or "the Old Year") who typically "hands over" the duties of time to the equally allegorical Baby New Year (or "the New Year") or who otherwise characterizes the preceding year.[2][3]

In popular culture

Father Time is an established symbol in numerous cultures, and appears in a variety of art and media. In some cases, he appears specifically as Father Time, while in other cases he may have another name (such as Saturn) but the character demonstrates the attributes which Father Time has acquired over the centuries.


  • Saturn, in his incarnation as Father Time, is the central figure in Simon Vouet's 1627 painting, Time Vanquished by Love, Hope & Beauty, which is in the collection of the Museo de Prado in Madrid, Spain.[4]

Business and industry

  • Father Time was the logo for the Elgin Watch Company. Notable in the logo was that Father Time had switched out his traditional hourglass for a watch.

Comics, magazines and periodicals

  • Father Time made numerous appearances in the classic comic Little Nemo in Slumberland, both as a general representation of time and as a symbol of the new year.[5][6]
  • Father Time is a recurring character in Tatsuya Ishida's webcomic Sinfest, often appearing as an infant immediately on or after the Western New Year, and as an old man fated to die during the end of the year.

Film and television

  • Chronos features in the Supernatural episode "Time after Time" (Season 7).
  • A song in the animated version of Charlotte's Web is titled "Mother Earth and Father Time".


  • "Father Time" is a character in Jude the Obscure, a novel by Thomas Hardy. Father Time is the name given to Jude Fawley's son, who is dreadfully melancholy and commits suicide at a young age.
  • In Mitch Albom's latest book The Time Keeper, Dor, the central character, is Father Time. He is freed from exile and sent to Earth on the condition that he teaches two people on Earth the true importance of time, a teenage girl who does not wish to live anymore, and a dying old billionaire who wishes to live forever.


  • "Father Time" is the name of a song on Blind Melon's album For My Friends.
  • "Father Time" is the name of a song on Animal Collective's album Centipede Hz.
  • "Father Time" is referenced in Lil' Wayne's song 6 Foot 7 Foot.


  • An old statue of Father Time sits on the grounds at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England.
  • A clock featuring Father Time, created by Guéret Frêres, Atelier Cartier, and Vincenti et Cie, may be viewed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[7] The museum also owns a drawing that is a study for a similar clock.[8]

See also


External links

  • "Old Father Time" on Penumbra
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