The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  644 Words
Date:  2021-03-11

After perusing through the Google Cultural Institute, I decided to select the painting by Salvador Dali titled The Persistence of Memory. The Persistence of Memory (La persistencia de la memoria in Spanish) is among the most recognizable artwork of the controversial painter Salvador Dali. The painting was completed in 1931 and is currently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The painting is colloquially named according to the more descriptive yet incorrect titles such as The Melting Watches or The Soft Watches.

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The paintings most notable feature is the melting pocket watches. Also in the painting, ants seem to be attracted to metal as they would be to rotting flesh and bread crumbs (Wikipedia, 2016). A horrid disfigured creature is seen in the foreground of the painting. This creature is especially catchy as it appears in most of Dalis art. In general, the art is made using Dalis famous method of ignoring and incorporating symmetry in the same painting to create an illogical yet strangely symmetrical painting.

The painting was made in the early 1900s. As compared to the previous century, the society in this period was beginning to tolerate radical thinkers. Rapid scientific development and discoveries had also changed how humanity viewed the universe. Thus, there was room for a controversial writer like Dali to develop his skills. The artist drew this painting in a state of induced hallucinations. This was however not the unique case as most of his paintings were done in the same state. Dali was a great follower of Sigmud Freuds writings in psychology. He believed that dreams and hallucinations were coded messages sent by our subconscious to ourselves. This is the reason why he induced hallucinations while painting. However, there were also suggestions that Dali might have incorporated quantum physics in the painting. It is claimed that the painting could have been a representation of Einsteins theory of Special Relativity. Dawn Ades is believed to have theorized that that the watches might have represented an unconscious notion of the relativity of space and time and an expression of the change in the way time was conceived (Thames & Hudson, 1982).

Viewing the painting through the Google Art Project was a better experience in terms of understanding the painting. This is because the physical details present themselves clearly for examination unlike viewing it through a looking glass. It is also a better experience in the fact that the viewer has ample time to examine the features of the painting, unlike in public forums where others have to be taken into consideration.

On the other hand, even though the physical details present themselves clearly in the project, the aesthetic and textural details tend to be taken out of consideration. For instance, one cannot define the texture and nature of artwork of the image by seeing it through the art project. Also, the aesthetic aspects of the painting intended by the painter are absent in the painting. Viewer interaction with the art is limited to what is presented by the photographer thus missing out on other features.

Changing the historical context of The Persistence of Memory would verily bring a huge difference in the way the painting was perceived. For instance, if the painting was to be presented in medieval times in the same context, the perception of the painting by both the modern and the said society would have been different. In medieval times, the conservationist community at the time would have rejected the new mode of painting that Dali would have made and he would have probably been branded mad or been accused to have been against religion of the time. However, in the modern context, Dalis work would have never been considered to be unique. This is because lots freethinkers have emerged thus the work might have been lost among the many paintings in the present time.

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The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. (2021, Mar 11). Retrieved from

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