Persistence of Memory

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“Persistence of Memory”
This is one of Dalis most famous paintings and is called “Persistence of Memory” and also possibly known to be the “most recognizable surrealist painting in the world.” The painting is oil on canvas and was created in 1931 earning him world-wide recognition at just 27. Consisting of 4 clocks (3 of which seem to be melting) the other being over-run by ants as if decaying; a distorted face, possibly of Dali himself and a cliff formation in the background; the painting is subject to a variety of different interpretations and meanings. I think that the colours used in the painting are very natural making them appear to be real and the idea of surrealism is shown through what is happening to the objects, instead of how they look. When I first saw this piece, I instantly picked out the morphed face-like object in the foreground and the melting clock on top of it. Dali has paid close attention to the eyelashes and the shading of the nose which I think make it look even more surreal. Furthermore, although it is not as prominent as other elements in the piece, in the background we can see a cliff that is being reflected in the water below it. Here I also like Dali’s attention to detail, where he has carefully painted the various cracks in the cliff. One of the questions that came to mind when analysing this was what the relevance of the clocks were. After discovering that Dali referred to many of his pieces as being “hand-painted dream photographs” I began to think about its meaning. The presence of the melting clocks shows the irrelevance of time when we are asleep. Meaning time doesn’t persist when we are dreaming, only memories do- authenticsociety.com. I also looked deeper into the meaning of the 4th clock that is being “attacked” by ants. I thought that this may represent the decaying of time and how at some point, we all die. I think this painting is open to many different interpretations and think that it would be very hard to find out...
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