© Salvador Dalí / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY.

Salvador Dalí: Melting Clocks

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.

Navigate left
Navigate right
Medium
Reveal less
Price
Reveal less
Ways to buy
Reveal less
Check
Buy now
Check
Make offer
Check
Bid
Check
Inquire
Size
Reveal more
Time period
Reveal more
Color
Reveal more
Navigate left
Navigate right