of Memory: by Elizabeth Parsons
by Elizabeth Parsons
It is not every day we see a painting, which gives us both great sadness and hope. The Drawers of Memory, as drawn by Salvador Dali, represents the ending of all that we know and all that we are. In doing this, it masters us and holds us captive for one extra second as we wonder, “What is that?” The work represents a woman lying as though having collapsed in front of a mountain. The woman has many drawers, which protrude from her body--being from Dali’s classical period of Surrealism that is to be expected. Her head hangs wearily from her shoulders, drooping into the uppermost drawer. An angel perches atop the mountain, sitting in the well-known “thinker’s” position. The cloak of the angel flows down the mountain to a clearing with a few trees scattered throughout.
is far away, giving great depth to the drawing. It appears the woman has walked a great distance
from that little clearing, and now that she has reached this place,
before the angel. This woman
has spent everything she had physically to reach this point; she is
completely exhausted. There
is only one part of her that remains erect, as the rest of her body
lies collapsed in total surrender.
Her arm is raised like a flagpole holding the crutch, often seen
in Salvador Dali’s paintings, like a white flag of surrender.
Our lady has given everything, offering her last attachment to
the mortal world. She holds a crutch up towards the angel begging
him to take it from her. She
has walked from the clearing, much as the Israelites walked through
the desert from Egypt. Her walk
has provided her with purification, giving her the ability to petition
the angel. The crutch is a very
simple design, a line with a curve at the top.
Consider for a moment what the cutch would look like if we unflexed
the arc. It is a cross, the
great crucifix, ever reoccurring throughout Dali’s work.
Salvador Dali has many reoccurring themes, a few of which are seen in the Drawers of Memory. One is the seed of fertility, which is found in this drawing, just below the woman, looking as though it has dried up and has now been tossed away. Our lady is caught in an unending plight forever captured, drawers thrown open, begging the angel to notice her. The eye is drawn in a circular motion throughout the portrait, delicately reminding us of the circle of life, ever flowing, in contrast.