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Analysis Of The Painting, The Persistence Of Memory, By Salvador Dali

2016 words - 9 pages

Analysis of the painting The Persistence of Memory

*Source: http://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/1168-2
NP - The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali is an oil on canvas painting (the oil on canvas being the medium of the artwork) painted in surrealism style in 1931. The painting is a form of two dimensional art. All the colors on the canvas are opaque and the painting has a smooth texture. We can see on the beach Dali adds more value (he adds more black to the green) to the shaded part of the landscape, and more white to the grass where the sun would be shining. The same is applied for the cliff on the background, where the sun is shining the value of the color is much ...view middle of the document...

As the sun typically sets in the west, this seems to imply that this painting takes place at dusk or sundown.
NP - I agree the colors in this are somewhat dull. Dali doesn’t use any bold, standout colors like red. Dali stuck to very earthy and neutral tones, the only “pop” of color would be the orange pocket watch that was covered in ants. Like you stated, he used a lot of browns, and blues, along with green hues. I believe the sun was setting because when you directly look at the painting, the sun is shining toward the east, meaning the sun was on the left. As we all know, the sun rises in the east and sets in the left, so this led to my belief that in the painting the sun was setting.
BQ - The Persistence of Memory seems to utilize more implied lines than any other kind of line in the painting. The animal looking thing that lies in the middle of the painting seems to have an outline of sort around it, but that is simply caused by its shadow. The shoreline, the horizon where the ocean meets the sky, the mountain top, the dead trees, and the watches are all created through the usage of implied lines.
NP - I agree with your explanation of implied lines, this work was definitely not linear. I also noticed that this work is not symmetrical, leaving the painting to be asymmetrical. Although the painting is surreal, it does have real-life qualities. I would say that the painting is representational artwork. Even with surreal images/icons (the distorted/melting clocks) we are able to recognize most of the images in the painting, save for the creature in the middle which is up for debate what that would be. These images would be the beach, the cliffs in the background, the ants on the orange pocket watch, and the sky. The setting of the beach is realistic and without the surreal icons, the background of the painting would be beautiful. It is said that Dali’s landscapes were drawn out of his memory of his hometown.
BQ- Your mention of things in the painting such as the melting watches and the dead animal on the ground transition very well into the next topic of what I really find interesting and unique about the painting and that is its use of icons, the content and context of it. For starters, I would like to bring attention to the very title of the painting. It is called “The Persistence of Memory” yet, from what I can tell from the icons and content in the painting, Dali seems to say anything but memory is persistent. One such thing to note is the sort of fade to black that seems to occur towards the right side of the painting. The painting is clear and transparent for the most part except for that specific part. Why so? It is because it seems this painting represents how memories are. They start off clear and transparent, like most of this painting is, yet, over time, which by the way is another thing exemplified in this painting through Dali’s inclusion of the decaying pocket watches, they start to become murky and unclear, and you start to...

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