Saturday, February 26, 2000

Persistence of Memory review

In this paper, I will detail the visual aspect of Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory. Afterwards, I will detail the contextual aspect. Third, I will detail his iconographic aspect. Fourth, there is the historical aspect. Fifth and finally, I will explain my personal opinion on Persistence of Memory. The Persistence of Memory was made in 1931 and the sequel was made in 1954.

This surrealistic, extremely creative, art work is highly regarded by popular culture. Salvador Dalí has a theory of 'softness' and 'hardness' of time. Salvador Dali was Spanish. At the time, Spain was under communism and anarchy. Both the Persistence of Memory and The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory are a symbol of surrealism. Clocks that are soft is pretty cool, but we all know that time is a change of events chronologically from point-to-point and that there are no black monoliths that appear out of nowhere, but it is fun to look at. It doesn’t slow down or speed up, but decay with gravity make it seem that way. Its visual appeal is the clocks are folded over a tree branch, on some cloth, a block and a cliff near a lake in the distance. I do not know what the ramp or gutted clock is for. In this oil on canvas painting, he mixes dark with light colors. The dark browns represent the soil. The Chiaroscuro was equal in my opinion. The light colors represent the sky, pocket watches, blankets, and body of water. The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory has all the major features of the Persistence of Memory, but it has a tree split up, a cliff split up by the body of water. It looks like the black monolith blocks are speeding towards the viewer and the body of water following it as it splits up clocks, cliff, trees, etc. It had alteration, because both have altered physics to the clocks. (suite101, 2009)(Art of Being Human, pg 154, 2009)

The contextual aspect is hard and soft time. It makes no sense, yet it wasn’t supposed too. The clocks get softer as these objects deteriorate. Soft time is where the watches don’t represent real time, because every planet has its own “day” or “year” in terms of hours depending on their orbit.

The only iconographic aspect I can tell is from the sequel where time disintegrates, because it is called Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory. Time gets soft as it disintegrates. Then the black monoliths are displayed describing time-space continuum. You couldn’t see those in the first picture, because Salvador wanted to make a sequel. He was involved in Spain’s cinema of the 1920s and 1930s and like many producers, he wanted to make sequels. In the 1930s, there was the Great Depression in US and a recession in other countries. Everybody was creative with what they had anyway. (suite101, 2009)

Persistence of memory is a popular choice to represent either modern art or surrealistic art. About Salvador Dali soon becoming one who invented the flamboyant mustache. He had a habit of drawing attention to ultimately self-promote himself in the spotlight. Due to his career in painting surrealistic art with addition of his sarcasm, Salvador Dali was seen as goofy fellow by multiple societies. He has been obsessed with the Freudian belief that there are two drives. The first drive I the need for sex which we should be hidden and the death wish, which is pain. This was to capitalize on Freud in an attempt to start a controversy. Dali gave the public what they wanted with both paintings. I would go to Minneapolis Museum of Arts and I could tell immediately that the strangest paintings are also the most popular on the tour. (suite101, 2009)(Art of Being Human, pg 154, 2009)

It captures my interest, because when I did search on modern abstract art, Persistence of Memory was one of the highest rated picks in the ladder. Who wouldn’t like melting pocket watches? Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory had some black monoliths similar to in the movie 2010 just before Jupiter imploded into a star, based on the book of Arthur C. Clark, one of the most famous science fiction writers. It was also highlighted in The Art of Humanities on page 154.

The Persistence of Memory and Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory is a significant leap forward for modern artists. The Persistence of Memory is in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. The Disintegration of Persistence of Memory is in Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Either painting is really cool looking and has a ton of imagination in each. I believe it is good example of an artist who can give the tourist what they really wanted which is why I picked them. Dali can go slightly insane trying to meet that benchmark due to the public’s pickiness.


Anonymous. (2009). Salvador Dalis – The Persistence of Memory

Retrieved August 07, 2009, suite101 website

Janaro, R.P, Altshuler, T.C. (2009) Unreal Realism (pg. 154)

The Art Of Being Human, Ninth Edition. Pearson Education, printed in United States.

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