DIscover the 

Melting Clocks Painting

Who was salvador dalí?

As one of the most versatile artists to come from the 20th century, Dalí is remembered as the most famous Surrealist member due to his incredibly flamboyant personality and indisputable technical skills.

an introduction

Painted in 1931, The Persistence of Memory is the most celebrated Surrealist painting created by Salvador Dalí and is one of the most recognizable artworks coming from the Surrealism movement.

history of the artwork

This iconic depiction of melting clocks was said to have been inspired by The Garden of Earthly Delights, painted by Hieronymus Bosch (1490 - 1510).


Frequently called “soft watches” by many other Surrealists, these clocks are scattered across the composition. They were said to represent Dalí’s theory of softness and hardness, which was a central tenet to his thinking at the time.


Said to be a self-portrait of Dalí, this human-like figure lying in the middle of the painting has been the subject of much debate. Dalí went on to use this anthropomorphic form in several of his other paintings and they were always thought to represent himself.


The inclusion of ants in The Persistence of Memory was important, as they represented the concept of decay, which was frequently touched on in Dalí’s other works. Ants hold special meaning to Dalí, as their destructive tendencies were explored in a variety of ways in his artworks.

familiar landscape

The rough landscape in the background of The Persistence of Memory was actually inspired by Dalí’s home, Catalonia. It was said that Dalí’s primary reason for using such an empty setting was to create a clear visual space for the surreal story that was unfolding.


Dalí never provided an explanation for his painting. Therefore, all of the analyses that have been made up about it over the years remain simply conjecture, as no one can confirm or deny these theories.

fact no. 1

It is likely that The Persistence of Memory is valued anywhere between $50 million and $150 million.

fact no. 2

Since 1934, the painting has been at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

fact no. 3

Slightly bigger than an A4 piece of paper, The Persistence of Memory is much smaller than most people initially think.

fact no. 4

Painted when he was just was 27 years old, The Persistence of Memory is the artwork that put Dalí on the map, as he reached significant levels of fame after his painting was exhibited.

fact no. 5

Dalí created a sequel to The Persistence of Memory, titled The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1952 - 1954).