Joan Miró by Erica Perry


After viewing the works of Miro and his peers in class and then going even more in depth with Miro's works in research, I still do not have a great understanding of the art world. I think that all artists have a right to their views and should always be able to paint how they feel. However, as I reviewed much of the well-known works of Miro, I could not quite get into his head. The works were beautiful, but I was not able to see their true, all around beauty. Still, Miro was a wonderful addition to the art world.

Joan Miro was born April 20, 1983 in Barcelona, Spain. He studied as a young student at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts and the Academia Gali. He is recognized today as an all inspiring Surrealist painter. Although through out his life, he painted in many different styles. In the 1920s, he went to Paris to paint and try to find his niche. January 24, 1937, he had to set up shop in the gallery of his dealer. He was unable to return to his homeland because of the Spanish Civil War.

Miro's works are very distinct because he allows his forms and designs to jump out at the viewer. He uses large distinct, but manipulated shapes. His use of bright colors allows for the paintings to draw to it the eye of its viewer and keep it interested for extreme lengths of time. Another aspect of Miro's works, are that they are often so simple that one, myself included, might spend a lot of their time viewing trying to find the meaning of the painting. Once they think they have found the meaning, they take a some more time to figure out the hidden meaning, if there is one. A common aspect of Miro's paintings is that those viewing and admiring his work look beyond the true meaning and make the painting more complicated than it really is. Miro never thought of his paintings as being abstract. He once said "Form for me is never something abstract. It is always a token of something. For me, form is never an end itself." Like so many other artists, Miro never thought of his paintings as ever being truly finished. Like during his Red and Black series of 1938, he painted really only two different pieces. The other paintings were just over laps of the first two in different perspectives. He also would use red for one of the designs and black for the other. Those were the only two colors used in this series of paintings. Miro, although he only used two colors, and two of the most drab colors, he made some terrific artwork. The paintings done in all black gave a sense of unhappiness and in the second painting of the series, discord and mass hysteria. However, when the paintings are brought together and red is added, the art tells a whole new story. The red gives the paintings a sort of uplifting look. The situation does not look as bad or as unhappy. The addition of the squiggly lines and shapes over, under, and around the painting of the distinct characteristic shapes, adds more personality to each of the designs.  


In his early works, Miro painted more along the lines of actual beings. Meaning people, buildings, landscapes, and everyday events. During this time he used more of the earth tones and some pastels. These works were absolutely beautiful and allowed the viewer to be pulled inside to see deeper into the subject. These paintings are the type of art that I am drawn to. These works were all done before 1920, what I think is the time before he truly found himself as an artist.
His later works are just as intriguing and magnificent, I just have a harder time with absorbing all that they are. The works after 1920, are what he is most well known for. These works are "subject matter drawn from the realm of memory and imaginative fantasy," according to Microsoft Encarta. I believe this to be a very accurate description of these works. In these paintings, he used a lot of distorted shapes and images. There were many curvy lines and he liked to use dots and blobs of different shapes and sizes. Many of these paintings are set on a neutral background, allowing the bright colors to absorbed into the canvas and then pushed back out into the eye of the viewer. His later works did not tell a distinct story as much as they allowed each person to create their own. If a person is having a happy, uplifting day, the works will be bright, happy, and fun. However, in the same way, if a person is having a horrible day, the paintings will seem dark and gloomy. As I looked through the different paintings of Miro, I could not help but see the wonderfulness that they each encompassed. I am more than positive that Miro did not intend for his works to be interpreted in the ways that I did, but hey, art is about individuality.

  One of my favorites of the Miro paintings, is Ciphers and Constellations in Love with a Woman. This painting reminded me of those clear summer nights when my friends and I would look up into the sky and just marvel at the magnificent array of color, brightness and endless space. This painting to me did not stop with the back of the canvas. It continued on into the endless sky. The addition of the light blue color that fades as it comes from the right corner makes the painting just as enchanting as the clear summer night sky.

Blue II although it is so simple, it is one of his works that allow for a person to stand and gaze and look for the meaning. I personally do not think that Miro had a distinct meaning in mind for this painting, but it is with all its simplicity nice to look at. Milano and Animal Composition are two of his ever so active pieces. They have multiple colors that just seem to make the canvas glow. There are so many lines and shapes, that one does not know where to start looking. It is works like these that make Miro a master of the canvas. Other paintings that are even more complicated, but also seem very fun are Carnival of Harlequin and Dutch Interior I. Both of these paintings are very active and have multiple subjects acting out at the same time. It is to the benefit of the viewer that paintings do not move. The setting for both of these works is indoors.   etching "Blue - Red"

  The Carnival of Harlequin describes the painting perfectly. These two paintings made me think of the Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. This is only because of the unstopping activity in all three. Miro's paintings were mostly of original creation and mind. To be able to pull together non-distinct shapes and images to almost make them distinct and to make the addition of color and the context in which it is all perceived takes extreme genius. I greatly admire Miro for his ability to look beyond what is right in front of him and to reach a whole new level of reality. His works of art and use of color help many of his paintings to stand out.

For over seventy years, Miro blessed us with his artistic ability, and I do believe that he helped many of the people who viewed his work think beyond the real. It is a shame that he is no longer around to share with us his ability first hand. However, through study of his works and his ability, I do think it is possible for him to live on in each one of us. Miro passed away on December 25, 1983 in Majorca, Spain. I hope that the creation of his works brought as much joy to him, as it does to all those who have the privilege of taking the time to admire them.