Essay on Analysis of the Painting, The Persistence of Memory, by Salvador Dali

Essay on Analysis of the Painting, The Persistence of Memory, by Salvador Dali

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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 less than areas of the cliff that are not hit by the setting sun. This type of painting is painterly work. Dali uses value, hue and chroma with paint to construct realistic looking world which we can see with how he did correct shading for a setting sun.
BQ - The painting’s textures are rather simple to my taste, there is some detail made on the mountainside in the background of the painting, but other than that, there is no texture that really pops out. The colors are also sort of lifeless in their usage. There is a lot of brown used in this painting, and while there is some blue as well, the blue does not invoke any sort of life to it, it simply just looks rather tranquil and empty. The brown by itself seems to represent lack of life as I personally correlate brown with lack of life as plants turn brown when they die or deserts, like the one depicted here, also tend to be brown and lifeless. I too noticed that the sun depicted in this painting seemed to either be a rising sun or a setting sun, given the lighting effects in the painting, but ...


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...eeding on a watch. By this point we’ve established that these watches are soft and organic, but the ants feeding on the watch seems to imply that the watch is alive. By that nature, what Dali seems to be telling us is that time is alive. Since we’ve established that the context of this painting is within a memory, it seems to signify that memories are also in a way living things. And like all living things, they must die, which seems to be shown by the dying creature in the middle of the painting and how it’s the closest to the portion of the painting that is fading to black. I really think that this painting was an excellent painting to view as although it looks strange and simple at first, when you look closely enough the content this painting brings with it is staggering and thought provoking.

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"MoMA Learning: MoMA. Web. 30 April 2014.

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