What Day IS it??? (Art & Life in Dali’s Melting Clocks)

Cher’s Famous Art

15 May 2020

14 March 2021

Persistence of Memory

by Salvador Dali, 1931, Spanish, oil paint

“Staying at home has thrown off our perception of time” says Alan Yuhas in“Unclear Days of our Lives” (New York Times). 

15 May 2020: Original Posting

“What day IS it?”

Are you confused about what day it is? Seems you are not alone!  This sentiment reminds me of Dali’s famous melting clocks Surrealistic painting.  I feel that Dali describes our life today when he writes that his surrealistic art is meant to “systemize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the sense of reality” (MoMA.org). 

While this painting is in NYC, one of the destinations on our [cancelled] trip to Spain May 2020 was the Salvador Dali house and museum in Cadaques, just north of Barcelona.  It seems very appropriate for us today. 

So…what day IS it?

14 March 2021: Daylight Savings Time

Saving Daylight? Saving Time?

It is difficult to believe that one year has passed since the initial shutdown, and 10 months since this initial posting! With another Daylight Savings Time upon us this weekend, this painting again seems appropriate.

Salvador Dali’s “Persistence of Memory”--or “Melting Clocks” as we like to call it, is his most well-known work, the one we immediately associate with him. Dali painted what he called “images of concrete irrationality,” and that seems fitting for both the weird passing of “time” during the pandemic as well as the semi-annual ritual of changing of the clocks to “save daylight,” whatever that means.

In this realistically rendered landscape featuring three ‘decaying” watches, Dali has created a haunting allegory of empty space where time has ended. There have been times during this past year that this concept seemed all too true; or at least that time has stopped.

Dali’s dream-scape strives to make a picture of something convincingly real, making the irrational concrete. The three watches are limp and lifeless, taking on an organic nature. The fly and swarming ants add to this feeling of organic decay. The never-setting sun is eerie as it shines on the empty, blank landscape marked only with a dead tree branch, and random shapes and forms.

TRAVEL TIP: This painting is worth seeing up close and in person. It is small: only 9.5″ x 1’1″ which means the detail is very intricate. Its home base is the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, NYC). More information on my Travel Tips blog New York: MoMA.

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