The Persistence of Memory


100 Paintings

A few years ago I got sick of having a terrible memory. I’ve since nailed it down to a slightly bizarre portion of bad memory in that I can’t for the life of me remember proper nouns; pubs, shops, roads, restaurants, people etc. However, like most people I’m better with faces, much better though, I could see a bloke walk by in the street and remember that he was two people ahead of me, in a queue in a chipper, in Dun Laoighre, eight years ago.

So apart from my otherwise terrible memory, I have a pretty good visual memory and when I came across a book called Master Your Memory by Tony Buzan, I scanned the back cover and saw that it had a system to improve your memory through your visual memory. So you can remember long numbers as images in a story for example. But it didn’t really make any sense without it’s  precursor Use your memory. So I bought that and spent every morning on the bus to work practicing the techniques in both. And they are fairly amazing techniques. Definitely a step above your average self help book.

The first thing I memorised, just for practise, was Pi to 500 decimal places.
The second half of Master Your Memory contains lists of trivia to memorize so
I went to work on them.

  • All the countries of the world – including their capitals and currency
  • The periodic table – including atomic number, atomic weights etc
  • 100 most frequently used words in Spanish
  • 100 Painters – including a famous work, its location, the artist’s lifespan, nationality and school of art

For the list of painters, I tracked down all the paintings on the web to make it a bit easier, and then discovered that the a lot of the data isn’t that well researched on any of the lists. When I reviewed the book on Amazon, I slated the content (while praising the system) for not researching any of the material properly even in it’s later editions. And Tony Buzan is definitely not short on pennies.

So, after quite a bit of waffle, the main point of this post is that list of paintings – if you’re looking for all the paintings in this list like I did, or just want to have a look through 100 famous paintings, here’s my list of 100 Artists, thoroughly researched, and backed up by a few books I’ve read over the years. And more importantly, there’s an image to go with each painting. There were a few cases where I couldn’t find the famous work that Tony Buzan chose, the fact that they were so hard to find was testamant in itself that they weren’t the most relevant works. In a couple of other cases I chose a different painting anyway just because it seemed much more relevant – but in most cases, I stuck to the original list as much as possible – apart from correcting all the mistakes, which were mostly dates and locations of paintings.

By the way, after years of this ‘Brain Training’ I still have a terrible memory! It didn’t do a thing to improve my day to day memory. Arsebags! Still an amusing way to pass the time at the bus stop though as you have to keep going through these lists in your head. Specially if you have a head like a sieve, like I do.

100 Artists – 100 paintings