Salvador Dalí’s surrealist masterpiece The Persistence of Memory (1931) showcases one of the artist’s most iconic motifs: melting clocks. On permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the hallucinatory painting features the limp clocks draped across branches, furniture, and even a sleeping human face. These melting clocks, sometimes referred to as soft or droopy watches, make repeated appearances throughout Dalí’s career, generating a variety of interpretations. Some scholars associate this symbol with the omnipresence of time and its mastery over humans. Others believe Dalí’s melting clocks are a symbol for Albert Einstein’s groundbreaking Theory of Relativity, while some art historians attribute Dalí’s inspiration to a much simpler moment: when the artist watched cheese melt in the sun.