Feel Art Again: The Persistence of Memory

Image credit: 

Dali - The Persistence of Memory.jpg

Salvador Dali's La persistencia de la memoria (The Persistence of Memory), like the Mona Lisa, is one of the most famous and most referenced paintings of all time. Pretty amazing, considering that Dali's piece isn't nearly as old as da Vinci's. This month is the perfect month to discuss Dali's work, most famous for its melting clocks, since October is National Clock Month.

1. The Persistence of Memory has come to be known by many other names, including Soft Watches, Droopy Watches, The Persistence of Time, and Melting Clocks.

2. In 1954, Dali's The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory reinterpreted his famous work. The composition is much the same, but the items and background are fragmented into smaller components and blocks. New additions to the image include water, a fish, and horn-like objects.

3. After the dropping of the atom bomb in 1945, Dali changed gears, moving from a Freudian phase into a scientific phase. The Persistence of Memory seems to be the transition between his phases.

4. The painting, especially the melting clocks, has been frequently referenced in pop culture. Some notable references in television include Doctor Who (the First Doctor), Futurama, Hey Arnold! and The Simpsons. Other references can be found in the music video for Brad Paisley's song "Alcohol," the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Gary Larson's comic The Far Side, the 75th issue of the Wolverine comic, and the video games EarthBound and Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced.

5. Some people believe the painting, as a visualization of Einstein's theory of relativity, depicts gravity distorting time.

6. Dali reportedly claimed, "The difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad."

So what's your take on the painting? Is it a visualization of Einstein's theory, a statement on the war, a self-portrait, or something else entirely? Or how about Dali himself — do you think he was right when he stated that he's not mad?

More from mental_floss...

October 11, 2007 - 3:45am
submit to reddit