The Persistence of Memory was painted by Salvador Dali in 1931 and is one of his most famous works. It depicts a scene showing pocket watches, detached from their chains, melting slowly on rocks and branches of a tree, with the ocean as a back drop. There are four watches in this painting, three of which appear to be molten, as if made out of cheese. The only watch whose structure doesn't appear to be malformed - unlike other watches it is orange in color - is sitting on a desk-like object. The ants seem to have found a point of interest in the center of the orange watch. A part of the painting is placed in sunlight and a part is shrouded in a shadow. Looking carefully you can see too small rocks, one in the sunlight and the other in the shadow. The melting watches points to time being flowing and eternal, whereas the hard rocks are the reality of life and the ocean represents the vastness of the earth. There is an orange clock covered with ants.
Salvador Dali used the symbolism to convey the decay of time or death. The strange human figure in the center could be interpreted, as a formless person we would imagine, while we are in a dreamlike trance. The painting is nothing more than a collection of ideas that are to do with the interpretation of dreams, perception of reality, time, birth and death. The ants, attacking the orange clock positioned on the rectangular table-like object perhaps indicate the anxiety associated with time. And what are the origins of our anxieties associated with time? Is it being too late for work? Or is it not having completed or accomplished something before we die? Whether we are aware of it or not, it is reasonable to believe that we all understand, even if only on subconscious level that someday we are going to die. This psychology and understanding of the reality of death may configure our behavior.