The Persistence of Memory (1931) by Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory - Salvador Dali - 1931

Artwork Information

TitleThe Persistence of Memory
ArtistSalvador Dali
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions24.1 x 33 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

About The Persistence of Memory

The artwork “The Persistence of Memory,” crafted by Salvador Dali in 1931, is an oil on canvas that measures 24.1 by 33 cm. Exhibited within the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, this piece is a quintessential example of the Surrealist movement. Known for its symbolic painting genre, “The Persistence of Memory” engages viewers with its enigmatic and dream-like visual language.

The artwork depicts a desolate landscape that extends under a vast, calm sky. The primary focus of the scene is on a series of melting clocks, which are distributed across the landscape and a mysterious, amorphous object in the center. This object, which suggests a distorted human face, reclines on the ground with a closed eye, giving the impression of sleep or unconsciousness. One clock is draped over the edge of a wooden table-like structure, while another is hung on a barren tree branch. A third clock, its surface adorned with ants, lies on a platform, seemingly solidified in its soft form, and the fourth one is stretched over the sleeping figure, distorting its numbers.

The soft, melting quality of the clocks challenges the traditional notion of the solid, mechanical passage of time, seeming to symbolize the fluidity and subjective nature of time as perceived in the dream state or human consciousness. With the surreal landscape and the intriguing play on texture and form, Dali inspires a contemplation on the ephemeral and distorted perception of time and reality.

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