Essay on Contemporary Artists

Submitted By kellerwilliams
Words: 1053
Pages: 5

A Contemporary Artist: Salvador Dali

For this assignment I chose to write about Salvador Dali’s “Persistence of Memory”. Salvador Dali was born on May 11, 1904 in Spain. Salvador studied in Madrid and then went to Paris in 1920 to interact with Miro, Picasso, and Magritte. Salvador is “best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work,” (Salvador Dali Paintings, 2013). The main style Salvador focused on for this painting was surrealism. “Surrealism is a period in art history when artists create dreamlike paintings filled with mysterious objects or familiar objects that have been oddly changed in ways that you would not see in reality,” ( I would classify “Persistence of Memory” as representational art. Representational art “is defined as art that portrays, however altered or distorted, things perceived in the visible world,” (Fichner-Rathus, 2013). Salvador’s painting does not have very many objects in it, but the few it does have are recognized after viewing the painting for a few minutes. There are four watches in the painting, although they do not look like “normal” watches, as they appear to be melting. There is also what looks to be a tree with a lone limb sticking out, holding one of the watches. In the background of the piece you can see the edge of a cliff along the edge of a body of water. Another object in the painting seems to be some sort of animal, which has a watch draped over it. It is not clear what this object is, but we can see that it has a head and some kind of tail. The media used for Persistence of Memory is oil paints. Salvador used different shades of brown, grey, red and blue oils on a canvas to illustrate this picture. With oil paints, “colors can be blended easily, offering a palette of almost limitless range…When applied with smooth, fine-tipped brushes, oil paint can capture the most intricate detail and render a glasslike surface in which brushstrokes are barely evident,” (Fichner-Rathus, 2013). I think Salvador’s decision to use oil paints in this famous painting was smart. “Dali painted images from a dream world in such exacting clarity and meticulous detail that viewers feel they are entering a hallucinatory landscape,” (Art Beyond Sight). When I first saw the painting, it was obviously a picture on the internet. But the painting itself looked like a picture to me. Salvador used his talents to create a smooth, realistic painting of a dreamlike scene. One of the main visual elements emphasized in this piece are lines. The artist uses lines in many different ways to create the scene. The four clocks in the painting appear to be melting off different objects, like a tree limb and the animal. Salvador used curvy lines to make these clocks look real yet still unrealistic. His use of lines created boundaries between the background and the main focuses. The ocean is horizontal, which makes it look open and vast while the tree and board are clearly defined with firm lines. Another element used is time. “Dali sometimes referred to his paintings as “hand-painted dream photographs…the drooping pocketwatches possibly suggest the irrelevance of time during sleep,” (Authentic Society, 2011). His common dreamlike landscapes are present in this piece as well. The altered illustrations of the clocks make the viewer question the reality of the scene. Salvador also emphasized colors in this painting. The watches are blue and a copper-reddish color. They stand out against the browns, grey and yellow in the background. These colors draw my attention when I look at the painting and I focus on them. The animal figure is a light grey-white color, standing out firmly. The cool colors of blue and grey stand out against the warmer browns of the cliff and the ground.
The element of form can also be seen. “Form is found in the fleshy creatures and the hills, while the branch, hills and table create a feeling of height and the sea,