|Courtesy of www.DaliPaintings.com|
The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (oil on canvas, 1952 to 1954) is an oil on canvas re-creation of the Dali's famous 1931 work The Persistence of Memory, and
measures a diminutive 25.4 x 33 cm.
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 Cadaques 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. These represent the breakdown of matter into atoms, a revelation in the age of quantum mechanics. Behind the bricks, the horns receding into the distance symbolize atomic missiles, highlighting that despite cosmic order, humanity could bring about its own destruction. The dead olive tree from which the soft watch hangs has also begun to break apart. The hands of the watches float above their dials, with several conical objects floating in parallel formations encircling the watches. A fourth melting watch has been added. The distorted human visage from the original painting is beginning to morph into another of the strange fish floating above it.
Even though not considered as a Symbolism artists such as Gustav Klimt, and Edvard Munch, Salvador Dali uses a lot of symbols in his drawings, paintings, and sculptures. He made up his own symbols, and also used symbols from the Catholic Church and Sigmund Freud's idea of interpreting dreams. These symbols are important in understanding Dali's work. To Dali, the fish was a symbol of life, and the melting clocks are symbols for the lack of meaning and fluidity of time in the dream world.