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Salvador Dali The Persistence Of Memory Essay Topic

Salvador Dalí frequently described his paintings as “hand painted dream photographs.” He based this seaside landscape on the cliffs in his home region of Catalonia, Spain. The ants and melting clocks are recognizable images that Dalí placed in an unfamiliar context or rendered in an unfamiliar way. The large central creature comprised of a deformed nose and eye was drawn from Dalí’s imagination, although it has frequently been interpreted as a self-portrait. Its long eyelashes seem insect-like; what may or may not be a tongue oozes from its nose like a fat snail from its shell.

Time is the theme here, from the melting watches to the decay implied by the swarming ants. Mastering what he called “the usual paralyzing tricks of eye-fooling,” Dalí painted this work with “the most imperialist fury of precision,” but only, he said, “to systematize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality.” There is, however, a nod to the real: the distant golden cliffs are those on the coast of Catalonia, Dalí’s home.

A work of art made from paint applied to canvas, wood, paper, or another support (noun).

Glossary

Emerging from psychological methods, a creative process, developed by Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí in the 1930s, for the exploration of the creative potential of dream imagery and subconscious thoughts.

Glossary

In popular writing about psychology, the division of the mind containing the sum of all thoughts, memories, impulses, desires, feelings, etc., that are not subject to a person’s perception or control but that often affect conscious thoughts and behavior (noun). The Surrealists derived much inspiration from psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s theories on dreams and the workings of the subconscious mind.

Glossary

A representation of oneself made by oneself.

Glossary

The natural landforms of a region; also, an image that has natural scenery as its primary focus.

Glossary

Madness to His Method?
Dalí self-induced hallucinations in order to access his subconscious while creating art, a process he called the paranoiac-critical method. On the results of this process, he wrote, “I am the first to be surprised and often terrified by the images I see appear upon my canvas. I register without choice and with all possible exactitude the dictates of my subconscious, my dreams….” Although he claimed to be surprised by the images, Dalí rendered them with meticulous precision, creating the illusion that these places could exist in the real world. Dalí, in his typically ironic way, once proclaimed, “The only difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad.”

Salvador Dali’s The Persistence Of Memory

Way more than time just melting away
This paper will take a look at Salvador Dali’s painting, The Persistence of Memory, painted in 1931. As the viewer can tell, this is a story of time and life. The memories start in the background where all is well and things are straight and calm. Moving on to the cliff, the observer possibly sees a well-behaved teenager. There is nothing horrible here that leads the spectator to gasp, and the viewer knows this person made it through that time in their life. Then the picture moves on to the age of about twenty, the memories are fond but in the distant past. The memories are protected by a white blanket so that they do not just fall into the background. Then something happened where the person had some times in their life that had not been so great. They are there as a reminder, but they are part of a very dead place. The person’s being becomes full of life again as the clock on the shelf seems to be newer. The clock is placed on the shelf and the numbers are able to be read. This tells of a recent time, yet starting to decay by the fly being there. The pocket watch is there to let the observer know the story is not done; there are more wonderful memories on their way.
The first thing one notices when looking at this piece of work is the clock with the gold ring around it slightly off to the left. It is sitting on something that looks like a shelf. The reason the eyes are drawn to this particular clock first is the contrast in color, and it is the biggest clock in the painting however; it is not the only clock. With this particular clock with the gold ring is placed on a shelf painted in a tan color. In comparison to the other clocks, which are painted with silver rings around them, this clock is meant to be different. The face on this clock also is slightly different then the other clocks in the picture, more numbers can be read on this clock.
The next item that the eye is drawn to is the fly, resting on this clock. Although this clock seems to be melting like the others in the picture, the fly plays an important part in this painting. Being the painting is named, The Persistence of Memory, the fly leads the onlooker to think these memories might not be as old as the rest. Flies are drawn to items that are rotting but still have some nutritional value; this clock is fresh enough to have more value than the other clocks around it, giving the spectator the thought that maybe while the clock is a memory, it is not distant and is still brought to the frontal lobe now and then to be revisited.
After looking beyond the focal point, to the left of that clock and even a little bit closer is a pocket watch. This watch is in a contrasting orange color. This is the only orange used in the painting. The placing of the pocket watch is strategic, as it too is on the shelf with the most recent memory, but the line and angle of the shelf automatically pulls your eye to it. The pocket watch is closed and highly...

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