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Melting Clocks, Timelessness, and Placidity: Dali's World in The Persistence of Memory.

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Melting Clocks, Timelessness, and Placidity: Dali's World in The Persistence of Memory by Blake Mulgrew March 3, 2003 Writing Lab III Unit Two: Artistic Analysis Submitted To: Mrs. Amy Bizik Salpointe Catholic High School Swept up by the complexities and urgency of our modern world, humankind has seemingly lost faith in such clich�s as "good things come to those who wait." Commercialism has contributed to this effect, driving people to come out ahead in the rat race, and has concreted the postulation that success can be measured in gold. However, the simple, observant mind of an artist claims contrary: a higher level of importance lies in placidity and complacency, rather than earnings. In The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali illustrates a surreal landscape that suggests peacefulness is to be cherished and time has no relevance in an effort to reshape public mindset. In the distance of The Persistence of Memory, a rocky waterfront is exhibited. The cliffs are a depiction of Salvador's beloved Cape Creus of Spain. There he often sat among the hills and soaked in the amazing surroundings, searching for inspiration. ...read more.


Dali uses thought provoking images to stimulate personal response in this painting. At first glance, the viewer's eye is directly brought to the image of the melting clocks. These timepieces appear to be hanging from a tree, sliding off a table, and resting on a face. They give the impression that time has no limits and is completely amorphous. In addition to the melting clocks, there is a gold pocket watch swarmed by ants. Throughout his painting career, Dali used ants as a symbol of death and decay. The apparently impertinent images intend to portray the idea that time is expired, disintegrating, and limitless, however, the two share relevance. The condition of the two types of clocks represents the different states at which time is found. The stop watch portrays the message that time eventually disintegrates and holds no bearing, while the melting watches demonstrate its ability bend. The perception that time is unstructured suggests people too should mold; breaking from the misconception that time is rigid. ...read more.


The central theme is able to become more clear and distinct since the eye is automatically brought to watches. This intended emphasis allows the viewer to gain insight into the purpose of the piece before moving on to additional aspects. Furthermore, the watches' surroundings are shaded with more organic, earthy tones, adding to the element of contrast. The browns contribute to the mildly warming effect that creates a soothing sensation, and give the impression that the setting could be universal and apply to everyone. Through Salvador Dali's scrutiny of modern social practices and beliefs, the audience comes to a new degree of awareness, suggesting that greater success comes from observation, rather than earnings. His incongruous juxtapositions of melting clocks, decaying stop watches, and rocky cliffs find relevance in peacefulness, providing the lingering and perplexing impact intended in The Persistence of Memory to reform conventional perceptions. The halcyon mood he creates sculpts the theme that true prosperity can be found in the simple pleasures of life, and in order to attain this understanding, one must be able to detach themself from the bindings of time. ...read more.

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