Alexis Franklin Humanities Rebecca Schaefer May 6

Alexis Franklin
Rebecca Schaefer
May 6, 2018
The Persistence of Memory
The Persistence of Memory is a surreal landscape created in 1931 by the famous Spanish artist, Salvador Dali. This oil painting measures 9 1/2 x 13 inches, or 24.1 x 33 cm and is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This picture has been shown all over the globe in famous museums and art galleries. The painting is horizontal and not that big. The Persistence of Memory background has a light blue horizon that fades downward from blue to yellow across the top part of the painting. Under the skyline sits a body of water, or a reflecting pool. The body of water follows the skyline as it connects with the mountains to the right. In front of the mountains there is a pebble that is just sitting there and is all by itself. The pebble is just there and its lightening of the water shows on the pebble. Close to the left of the water, Dali places a reflective, blue, rectangular platform with dark brown trimming around the edges reminding me of some sort of mirror. In front of platform there is another pebble all alone. It looks like there is a tree but it has no type of branches or anything on it. One this tree there is one branch that is holding a clock on it that looks like it is melting away. The tree is located on top of a light brown object that looks desk or some type of dresser. The brown object takes over the bottom left corner of the painting. This object has two pocket watches residing, one is gold and melted, and while the other one is red just resting on the desk. There is a fly on the face near the 1 o’clock mark. The red pocket watch is covered with black ants, and the only watch that is not melted. At the bottom of the painting the bottom is brown but almost is turning black in some parts of the painting. There is a white figure on its side with another silver-colored melting clock on its back. The Persistence of Memory uses the basic elements of art such as lines, values, shapes, form, colors, and texture. Most of the painting has lines that are thin and similar in width expect the mountains. The line of the mountains are kind of rough.

The shading in this painting are very drawn out and detailed. Thick values are giving details and color to the painting that is giving a three dimensional illusion to the audience. The ground is mostly solid brown, with black shadows overpowering the landscape.  The mountains use a combination of light and darkness mixed with color rather than only black to create it. This painting contains a variety of shapes and forms that add to it. There are noticeable figures and shapes, and some things that I can’t identify. The way that the clocks are melting adds a sense of movement. The colors in The Persistence of Memory are mostly warm including yellow, gold, black, and brown. There are also cool colors in this piece including blue, white, and silver.
Salvador Dali’s painting The Persistence of Memory, uses a lot of artistic methods and principles. The emphasis of the piece are the four melting clocks scattered throughout the painting. The painting lacks a definite pattern and the only reoccurring object is the pocket watches. Its scenery changes throughout the piece from geometric objects, to empty space, to mountains. The Persistence of Memory seems to have a dark impact on people because of its style and subject matter, so it is not seen as a happy painting. The painting itself reflects a lot on Salvador Dali, and the way which he viewed life. I think this painting was a success because it kind of makes you think about time. Time is moving so fast every day that I feel like we actually get lost in time. I think The Persistence of Memory makes you actually appreciate the quality of time and it is actually showing how time is melting away right in front of your eyes. I would say this painting is very original. I feel like it is original because I never have seen anything like it.