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MACHINE DREAMS

Alexei Taylor, Author
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LA PERSISTENCIA DE LA MEMORIA: A DREAMSCAPE



La Persistencia De La Memoria, arguably the most famous of Dali’s works, displays a humanoid figure in the foreground, presumably in a placid dream-state, and drooping pocket watches, one of which is swarmed by ant-like creatures. A second drooping watch lies, semi-solid beside the first, a third hangs limply over the branch of a tree, while the last is wrapped round the humanoid creature, as a sleeping child with his blanket. In the distance, the outline of craggy rocks, with an accompanying reflection from a body of water below, (the rocks were said to represent the tip of the Cap de Creus peninsula, a familiar sight in Dali’s childhood, by Dali himself) juxtaposes an undefined, nebulous expanse of space. The work is an oil painting, rendered on canvas, with the dimensions 9.5 In by 13 In, the size of your average laptop screen. It has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1934. Dali completed this painting in 1931, and it gained him critical acclaim as an artist, earning him the respect and admiration of his Surrealist peers, headed at the time by Andre Breton. Although Dali was eventually expelled from this group, as a result of the fact that he did not echo its leftist inclinations in politics, (proof as to the Surrealist conception of Surrealism as a cultural ideology, rather than merely an art), he remains its most recognizable figure, due in no small part to the success of this painting.

Below is a brief description of this painting, sourced from the Museum of Modern Art' (New York)'s online archives




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