Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 3

Christine Maria M.

Cordero

2015-06911
ID 123 WFRU
IDr. Katherine Margaret L. Manuel
September 9, 2016
Comparison and Contrast between
Salvador Dalis
Persistence of Memory, 1931
And
Ren Magrittes
Les Valuers Personnelles
(Personal Values), 1952
Art is an expression of oneself; it is a
creation of the mind and heart of an artist. My
chosen painting, The Persistence of Memory by
Salvador Dali in 1931, is a clear example of this
expression. It is one of the most recognizable and individual pieces in art history. Depicting a dismal shoreline
draped with melting clocks, and possibly his own face in profile, according to some scholars, the melting and
distorted clocks symbolize the erratic passage of time that we experience while dreaming. Some other scholars
think of this painting is that Albert Einsteins Theory of Relativity, but to everyones surprise, Dali declared his
true muse for the deformed clocks was a wheel of Camembert cheese that had melted in the sun. Could such a
shallow thing have been the sole inspiration for such an interesting piece?
Art, I must say is truly a strange but amazing thing. My appreciation for art is so big that it is probably
the very reason why I am in this degree program, Interior Design. And so, it is one of my great joys that we have
a museum in the campus. The Vargas Museum is known for its collection of the paintings of Juan Luna, Felix
Resurreccion Hidalgo, Victorio Edades and Fernando Amorsolo. In our visit on the 2nd of September 2016,
besides enjoying the gallery that the Vargas Museum had to offer, we were tasked to find a painting to compare
and contrast our chosen painting with. Sadly, all paintings were of realism, and had far meanings from The
Persistence of Memory. Given permission to choose a painting outside the Vargas Museum, I chose Ren
Magrittes Les Valuers Personnelles (Personal Values). Being a surrealist painting just like The Persistence of
Memory, this featured the element of peculiarity, and was quite an interesting piece to understand.
In The Persistence of Memory, four clocks are on display in an otherwise empty desert scene. The
clocks are not flat as they are in real life, but bent out of shape, appearing to be melting. Similarly, the items in
Personal Values were not as how they would appear to be in our everyday lives. In this painting, there are

several commonly seen items, namely a comb, matchstick, shaving brush, bar of soap, and wineglass that are
blown up to human-sized proportions. The items here are arranged randomly, just as how they are in The
Persistence of Memory. The magnified scale of objects evident in both paintings, although more obvious in
Personal Values, are comparable as well. Both masterpieces, with their illustrative quality results in a powerful
paradox: images that exist in such clarity and simplicity provoke unsettling thoughts. Besides being visually
similar in the objects used (both common and popular objects of their time period), how they look, their scale
and the technique of painting, The Persistence of Memory and Personal Values have a related meaning and
message. In classic Surrealist manner, their unexpected juxtaposition poses a lot of questions. Why are these
clocks melting? Why are the clocks out in the desert? Why are the objects so big? Why are they placed weirdly
around the room? One belief surrounding the existence of The Persistence of Memory is Einsteins Theory of
Relativity, a theory which says that the way that anything (except light) moves through time and space depends
on the position and movement of someone who is watching. This might explain why the clocks are scattered and
melting; people view time differently, and it passes unnoticed. In like manner, the reason why the objects in
Personal Values are placed in no order and blown out of proportion might be so as well, to push the viewers into
rethinking their relationship with these common personal items, in a way to notice their thoughtless interactions
with familiar objects, neglected like time and its quick passage as we see in The Persistence of Memory.
Second to this belief on The Persistence of Memory, another known interpretation of this painting is the
concept of the dream and the passage of time that we experience while dreaming. The distorted clocks are
literally melting away, showing what it is like for time in the dream world powerless. It is illustrated how useless
and somewhat irrelevant our normal concept of time is inside the dream state. Likewise, the ants eating away the
face of the red clock also symbolizes the decaying and impermanent nature of our arbitrary way of keeping time.
Coming up with the best visual representation of what it is like to be dreaming was one of the main goals of the
Surrealists. However, Ren Magritte took a somewhat different approach to painting, and this is one of the great
differences these two artists have. Rather than creating fantasy imagery, he evoked the strangeness and
ambiguity latent in reality. I don't paint visions, he once said. To the best of my capability, by painterly means, I
describe objects - and the mutual relationship of objects - in such a way that none of our habitual concepts or
feelings is necessarily linked with them, this being in great contrast with Dalis hand-painted dream
photographs. Similar in a number of ways, the two paintings are also quite different. Dali and Magrittes works
are different in the settings they have chosen. Dali picked the outdoors and Magritte picked a room. Dali used a
single object, while Magritte wanted several objects in his painting.
Indeed, much of art has yet to be understood, but then again, maybe they were created to just be left for
each person to interpret for ones self. Comparing and contrasting these two paintings gave me the opportunity to
dig deeper into works of art that were of totally no meaning to me before. With a greater understanding of these
works of art, I have also gained an even greater appreciation for what I see around me, be it intended art or art in
the common things we see in a day. The Persistence of Memory and Personal Values, with their similarities and
differences have without a doubt done their magic inspiring me in the way I can approach art, how I can reach
out to people and the world, how I can send my message and create a change.

References
The Museum of Modern Art, Scala Archives, Artists Rights Society. (n.d.). Salvador Dal. The Persistence of
Memory,

1931.

[digital

image].

Retrieved

September

07,

2016,

from

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79018?locale=en
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Artists Rights Society. (n.d.). Ren Magritte. Les Valuers Personnelles
(Personal

Values),

1952.

[digital

image].

Retrieved

September

07,

2016,

from

https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/98.562
Museum of Modern Art. (n.d.). Salvador Dal, The Persistence of Memory, 1931. Retrieved September 07, 2016,
from https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79018?locale=en
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (n.d.). Ren Magritte, Les Valeurs Personnelles (Personal Values), 1952.
Retrieved September 07, 2016, from https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/98.562#artwork-info
Shabi, K. (2013, May 29). Salvador Dali Persistence of Memory: Meaning of the Melting Clocks. Retrieved
September 07, 2016, from http://legomenon.com/salvador-dali-persistence-of-memory-melting-clocksmeaning.html
Puchko, K. (2015, April 9). 15 Things You Didn't Know About 'The Persistence Of Memory'. Retrieved September
07,

2016,

from

http://mentalfloss.com/article/62725/15-things-you-didnt-know-about-persistence-

memory
ReneMagritte.org. (2009). Personal Values, 1952 by Rene Magritte. Retrieved September 07, 2016, from
http://www.renemagritte.org/personal-values.jsp