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Salvador Dali The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, c.1954




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Dali comments about this painting: “…After twenty years of immobility, the soft watches are themselves dynamically disintegrating...” In this version, the landscape from the original work has been flooded with water. Disintegration depicts what is occurring both above and below the water's surface. The landscape of Cadaqués is now hovering above the water. The plane and block from the original is now divided into brick-like shapes that float in relation to each other, with nothing binding them, the tree from which the soft watch hangs being similarly segmented. The hands of the soft watches float above their dials, with several pointed objects resembling rhinoceros horns floating in parallel formations encircling the watches. The distorted human visage from the original painting is beginning to morph into another of the strange fish floating above it. However, to Dali, the fish was a symbol of life. To Dalí, this image was symbolic of the psychological effect that the advent of the atomic bomb had on humanity. It will be noted that the imagery of The Persistence of Memory can be read as a representation of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, symbolizing the warping of time by gravity; Einstein's equations lay at the core of the science of nuclear reaction, which presumably inspired Dali to revisit this particular work. This painting is currently owned by the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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