Retrospective means looking back. An art exhibit that cover an artist's entire career is called a retrospective because it looks back at the work the artist has produced over many years.

Retro- means back, -spect- means look (think: spectacles), so the word means literally 'a looking back.' Many people take a retrospective look at their lives on birthdays or on New Year's Eve to evaluate events and see how well they've met their goals. You could call the yearly evaluation you get from your boss a retrospective review of your work.

Definitions of retrospective

adj concerned with or related to the past

retrospective self-justification”
directed or facing toward the back or rear
ex post facto, retro, retroactive
affecting things past
of or concerned with or related to the future
yet to be or coming
likely, potential
expected to become or be; in prospect
effective in or looking toward the future
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n an exhibition of a representative selection of an artist's life work

Type of:
art exhibition
an exhibition of art objects (paintings or statues)

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