Visual Rhetoric Essay
In Salvador Dali’s surrealist painting, “The Persistence of Memory”, soft melting clocks are introduced. The key images of the painting are three melting pocket watches: draped over a bare tree branch, the edge of a wood-like cube, and a mysterious fleshy object. The mysterious object in the middle of the painting indicates a distorted outline of a man’s facial profile. If you look closely, there is a fly resting on top of the clock on the edge of the desk-like object. Of four watches in this painting, three of which appear to be molten—it looks as if it is made out of cheese. The only watch whose structure doesn't appear to be malformed-- unlike other the watches, is the orange watch sitting on a desk-like object. However, ants seem to have found a point of interest on the center of the orange watch. The setting is exudes earthy tones, yet there seems to be a prominent bright yellow glow arising from the horizon.
My interpretation of “The Persistence of Memory” is the possible suggestion that time is irrelevant, which is represented by the drooping pocket watches. The painting portrays dream-like interpretation of quite simple objects and shapes by distorting or transforming it into unrecognizable forms—giving off psychological undertones. Moreover, the ants attacking the orange clock supports the dream-like interpretation because it symbolize the decaying of time, “like rotting flesh”. By depicting insects hovering together, it gives the painting a somber tone, perhaps suggesting that, despite the lack of time, things must come to an end. In “The Persistence of Memory”, soft watches debunk the assumption that time is deterministic-- this is supported by other images in that work like the wide landscaping, the ants, and the fly that devour the other watches.
As it is my favorite painting, I love the latent philosophical questions and references to our neuro-existence. Dali uses light and abstract images to communicate and link to...