Friday, May 20, 2011

"Perception of Memory"

The Persistence of Memory is one of Dali’s most famous paintings. Dali was not only an artist, but also a philosopher. With this information you can take in the fact that his philosophy and psychological views had a great influence in his artwork. His many paintings, such as this one, include dreams, birth, perception of reality, death, and sexual desire. Dali referred to many of his paintings as “hand painted dream photographs”, and this painting is just that. The drooping pocket watches are a symbol of distorted time. They resemble time’s irrelevance to the unconscious mind. The “fetus-like” head lying on the ground is often interpreted as many different things, such as a fish washed ashore, or the head of a goose. According to the Authentic Society, many of the landscapes in Dali’s paintings resemble his home town, Port Lligat. In the foreground there are ants attacking an orange clock which could quite possibly resemble Dali’s anxieties associated with time. Was he late for work? Or waiting on his long lost love? What do you think? Hurry time is ticking!

Often Dali would make up ridiculous meanings for his paintings when asked. In Dali’s book Diary of a Genius he claims that this painting is nothing more than an interpretation of melting cheese sitting out for a long period of time. However, after studying this piece of art and researching information about it I personally believe differently. Dali’s psychological background plays a big part in his deeper thoughts about this painting.


  1. Dali, as an artist and an individual, never had a set meaning for any of his art. This is what makes him such a unique creator though. To answer your question though, I believe Dali's symbol of time (melting clocks) shows the lack of relevance it has in a dream state. Dali was extremely imaginative and bizzare, focusing on dream sequences a lot in his painting, so a melting clock may seem odd in real life, but there are no boundaries in a dream. Dali creates a realistic landscape, but allows objects to do very unrealistic things, showing off the depth and power of a dream. I believe Dali knows the power of our minds and tries to express his ideas in art.

  2. I feel like Dali means for everyone to take their own meanings out of his work. He leaves the mind very open using objects that can be interpreted in numerous ways. I didn't know that he used landscape from his hometown, that is very interesting. Could that mean he uses subjects that relate to his life? Just like he uses a landscape that directly relates to him on a daily basis, he may choose subjects that reflect him in different ways. They may not reflect him in obvious ways. Maybe they show how he feels deep inside where no one is aware of it.