Salvador Dali Melting Clock
The Persistence of Memory, by Salvador Dali, is undoubtedly one of the most famous works of art in the world, alongside Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Picasso's Guernica, and a few others—and it is unquestionably the most identifiable surrealist artwork ever made.
Those curiously melting pocket timepieces are instantly recognized. So much so that, more than 80 years later, The Persistence of Memory is continually acknowledged and reproduced in art, literature, and modern culture.
What exactly does Salvador Dali's melting clocks imply?
Have you ever awoken from a long dream thinking it was dawn only to discover it was still the middle of the night? Hours might pass in what seems like no time at all when you're dreaming. In the dream world, clocks have little meaning or significance. This may be why the clocks in Dali's painting are melting away.
Who is known for melting timepieces?
What inspired Dali's melting clocks?
The clocks in Salvador Dal's The Persistence of Memory, one of the most recognizable pictures in art history, were inspired by a particularly unctuous Camembert. Some viewed Einstein's Theory of Relativity as an influence in the piece, but Dal argued it was nothing more than "the sensitive, lavish, and solitary paranoiac-critical Camembert of time and space." Salvador Dali was heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud's teachings on the subconscious.
Unlike the Surrealists, who created art by "automatic" processes or by coincidence, Dali attempted to preserve a delusional, dreamlike condition while creating his hyper-realistic paintings. Dali used the phrase "paranoiac-critical" to describe his mental acrobatics.
For the next 50 years, he used this process to create bizarre landscapes with harsh, empty stages, intense shadows, and distant horizons. He filled those worlds with completely developed strange individuals, animals, and objects, much like the characters in a vivid dream that you only remember for a split second after waking up.
What is the name of Dali's melting clock painting?
What was the title of one of Salvador Dali's most famous works?
What is the cost of the Salvador Dali melting clock painting?
What does Dali's melting clocks symbolize?
The Persistence of Memory Analysis
This environment was primarily used by Dali as a backdrop and a means of establishing a clear visual space for the bizarre drama that was taking place. Only a few elements stand out in the landscape: an (apparently) dead olive tree growing out of a massive square platform, and a further away platform closer to the ocean.
The olive tree represents the world's stunted growth and lifelessness, as well as serving as a structural structure to support one of Dali's melting pocket watches in the painting's midsection. An even more perplexing image can be found in the painting's center. On the group, a figure or beast lies motionless. The flat clock thrown across its back resembles a saddle, but there are more possibilities. Maybe the watch is holding it down, or it simply fell across its prone body by chance. The figure has a resemblance to a Dali half self-portrait.
The left-most side has a snout and possibly a closed eye with long, antennae-like eyelashes. This could symbolize Dali's slanted, dream-like experience in this region. The pebbles beneath it, like the tree branch and platform beneath two of the pocket watches, serve to highlight its fluid, melting nature. What appears to be a swarm of ants is gnawing away at the top of the red clock, somewhat like a chunk of hard candy.
Another insect is perched on the face of a nearby clock. The clocks, presumably symbolic of both time and memory, will decay, break down, and change over time if left exposed to the elements. Dali has produced a visual arrowhead with the addition of the fourth watch and ants, creating a work with a much more dynamic and non-traditional arrangement. The fourth watch's proximity to the painting's edge, as well as its more vivid orange color and the contrasting black ants collecting on top of it, catch the eye.
The Artwork of Salvador Dali
Although some of Dali's first works are on cardboard, he usually painted on stretched canvas or wood panel. He frequently began by priming his canvas with a white foundation (similar to how artists currently prime canvas with white Gesso), then painting in his horizon line, sky, and landscape.
He would overlay a highly detailed painting over the top of his vacant landscape in black or blue pencil for his major figures and subjects. He'd next add tiny strokes of oil paint with small brushes to get hyper-realistic results. Dali (at least sometimes) blended his oil paint with a normal resin ingredient, such as damar resin, to give his work an ultra-smooth, very liquid aspect, according to a scan of ultraviolet light.