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The Persistence of Memory clocks Painting by Salvador Dali

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The Persistence of Memory clocks Oil Painting

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The Persistence of Memory clocks - Dali Paintings for Sale

The Persistence of Memory
Artist Salvador Dalí
Year 1931
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 24 cm × 33 cm (9.5 in × 13 in)
Location Museum of Modern Art, New York City

The Persistence of Memory (Catalan: La persistència de la memòria) is a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí, and is one of his most recognizable works. First shown at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, since 1934 the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, which received it from an anonymous donor. It is widely recognized and frequently referenced in popular culture,[1] and sometimes referred to by more descriptive (though incorrect) titles, such as 'Melting Clocks', 'The Soft Watches', or 'The Melting Watches'.

The well-known surrealist piece introduced the image of the soft melting pocket watch.[2] It epitomizes Dalí's theory of "softness" and "hardness", which was central to his thinking at the time. As Dawn Adès wrote, "The soft watches are an unconscious symbol of the relativity of space and time, a Surrealist meditation on the collapse of our notions of a fixed cosmic order".[3] This interpretation suggests that Dalí was incorporating an understanding of the world introduced by Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity. Asked by Ilya Prigogine whether this was in fact the case, Dalí replied that the soft watches were not inspired by the theory of relativity, but by the surrealist perception of a Camembert melting in the sun.[4]

External video
Smarthistory - Dali's The Persistence of Memory[5]
Salvador Dalí. The Persistence of Memory. 1931[6]
It is possible to recognize a human figure in the middle of the composition, in the strange "monster" (with a lot of texture near its face, and lots of contrast and tone in the picture) that Dalí used in several contemporary pieces to represent himself – the abstract form becoming something of a self-portrait, reappearing frequently in his work. The figure can be read as a "fading" creature, one that often appears in dreams where the dreamer cannot pinpoint the creature's exact form and composition. One can observe that the creature has one closed eye with several eyelashes, suggesting that the creature is also in a dream state. The iconography may refer to a dream that Dalí himself had experienced, and the clocks may symbolize the passing of time as one experiences it in sleep or the persistence of time in the eyes of the dreamer.

The orange clock at the bottom left of the painting is covered in ants. Dalí often used ants in his paintings as a symbol of decay.[7][8] The Persistence of Memory employs "the exactitude of realist painting techniques"[9] to depict imagery more likely to be found in dreams than in waking consciousness.

The craggy rocks to the right represent a tip of Cap de Creus peninsula in north-eastern Catalonia. Many of Dalí's paintings were inspired by the landscapes of his life in Catalonia. The strange and foreboding shadow in the foreground of this painting is a reference to Mount Pani.

Dalí returned to the theme of this painting with the variation The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1954), showing his earlier famous work systematically fragmenting into smaller component elements, and a series of rectangular blocks which reveal further imagery through the gaps between them, implying something beneath the surface of the original work; this work is now in the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, while the original Persistence of Memory remains at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Dalí also produced various lithographs and sculptures on the theme of soft watches late in his career. Some of these sculptures are the Persistence of Memory, the Nobility of Time, the Profile of Time, and the Three Dancing Watches.

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Dalí rendered his fantastic visions with meticulous verisimilitude, giving the representations of dreams a tangible and credible appearance. In what he called "hand painted dream photographs," hard objects become inexplicably limp, time bends, and metal attracts ants like rotting flesh. The monstrous creature draped across the painting's center resembles the artist's own face in profile; its long eyelashes seem insectlike or even sexual, as does what may or may not be a tongue oozing from its nose like a fat snail.

Time is the theme here, from the melting watches to the decay implied by the swarming ants. The monstrous fleshy creature draped across the paintings center is an approximation of Dalís own face in profile. Mastering what he called "the usual paralyzing tricks of eye-fooling," Dalí painted this work with "the most imperialist fury of precision," but only, he said, "to systematize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality." There is, however, a nod to the real: The distant golden cliffs are those on the coast of Catalonia, Dalís home.

Gallery label from Dalí: Painting and Film, June 29–September 15, 2008

The Persistence of Memory is aptly named, for the scene is indelibly memorable. Hard objects become inexplicably limp in this bleak and infinite dreamscape, while metal attracts ants like rotting flesh. Mastering what he called "the usual paralyzing tricks of eye-fooling," Dali painted with what he called "the most imperialist fury of precision," but only, he said, "to systematize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality." It is the classical Surrealist ambition, yet some literal reality is included too: the distant golden cliffs are the coast of Catalonia, Dali's home.

Those limp watches are as soft as overripe cheese—indeed "the camembert of time," in Dali's phrase. Here time must lose all meaning. Permanence goes with it: ants, a common theme in Dali's work, represent decay, particularly when they attack a gold watch, and become grotesquely organic. The monstrous fleshy creature draped across the painting's center is at once alien and familiar: an approximation of Dali's own face in profile, its long eyelashes seem disturbingly insectlike or even sexual, as does what may or may not be a tongue oozing from its nose like a fat snail.

The year before this picture was painted, Dali formulated his "paranoiac-critical method," cultivating self-induced psychotic hallucinations in order to create art. "The difference between a madman and me," he said, "is that I am not mad."

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Salvador Dalí frequently described his paintings as “hand painted dream photographs.” He based this seaside landscape on the cliffs in his home region of Catalonia, Spain. The ants and melting clocks are recognizable images that Dalí placed in an unfamiliar context or rendered in an unfamiliar way. The large central creature comprised of a deformed nose and eye was drawn from Dalí’s imagination, although it has frequently been interpreted as a self-portrait. Its long eyelashes seem insect-like; what may or may not be a tongue oozes from its nose like a fat snail from its shell.

Time is the theme here, from the melting watches to the decay implied by the swarming ants. Mastering what he called “the usual paralyzing tricks of eye-fooling,” Dalí painted this work with “the most imperialist fury of precision,” but only, he said, “to systematize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality.” There is, however, a nod to the real: the distant golden cliffs are those on the coast of Catalonia, Dalí’s home.

What’s Freud Got to Do with It?
Salvador Dalí was very interested in Sigmund Freud’s writings on psychology. An Austrian psychologist writing in the late-19th and early-20th century, Freud revolutionized the way people think about the mind with his theory of the subconscious. The subconscious is the part of the psyche that thinks and feels without the person being aware of those thoughts and feelings. According to Freud, dreams are coded messages from the subconscious, and Surrealist artists like Dalí were interested in what could be revealed by their dreams.

Madness to His Method?
Dalí self-induced hallucinations in order to access his subconscious while creating art, a process he called the paranoiac-critical method. On the results of this process, he wrote, “I am the first to be surprised and often terrified by the images I see appear upon my canvas. I register without choice and with all possible exactitude the dictates of my subconscious, my dreams….” Although he claimed to be surprised by the images, Dalí rendered them with meticulous precision, creating the illusion that these places could exist in the real world. Dalí, in his typically ironic way, once proclaimed, “The only difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad.”

 

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