05 мая 2020In TravelBy admin11 Minutes

Joan Miró and why I didn’t go to the Picasso Museum

After a leisurely morning walk on Montjuïc mountain and traditionally eating the Catalan tangerines for breakfast, I went to Joan Miro Foundation with absolutely no idea what to expect from this artist and his paintings. As you might guess from the heading, the choice was between world-renowned Picasso and Miro, who I knew almost nothing about. Although, maybe I didn’t listen to art history lectures well enough.

Here’s a little spoiler to drum up your interest – the museum will certainly blow your mind, it’s a Must See place for all creative people. Visiting other ones and staring at the Renaissance paintings, at all these samples of perfection in terms of the technique, color, light and everything else, I want to go to sleep after the second picture, no, actually, even after the first. I was running in the Foundation for almost two hours, my camera, with its permanent shutter clicking, has overheated, but the strength and the will to see the rest didn’t fade away. Plus, there’re a lovely courtyard and a roof which gives another spectacular view of Barcelona.

A bit about the life and work of

Joan Miro is a Catalan painter, sculptor and ceramicist. His works can be found all over Barcelona, from the airport terminal to the world famous La Rambla, as well as gardens and parks where his sculptured creations are demonstrated. What makes him so attractive to me? Firstly, I admire his approach to work, his attitude towards the academic schooling (‘I want to kill painting’, 1927) and his experiments. Secondly, his words about art have been found to correlate closely with the design method in my mind:

I feel the need of attaining the maximum of intensity with the minimum of means…

After a long creative search for his own style, Miro came to rejection of traditional painting, so his later works are a mix of Cubism, Surrealism, Expressionism and Fauvism (all those styles and directions he had to go through to find his original, unique language).

Miro’s special manner can be seen in each of his works. Looking at the paintings, you can feel the passion, inspiration and desire they’re made with. Here is an interesting quote by Eugène Ionesco from a special issue of “Tribute to Miro, 1972”:
«When you look at Miro at work, his face, then at the lines, born in the creative process, it seems that everything is illuminated by only one feeling at the same time restrained and intense… He is captured by his rush and we get carried away together with him in his rush and take off. This is a fairly rare occurrence — to be in the presence of such life-giving and energizing energy…»

Take-off point

The painting, which was the take-off point of the artist’s career, is The Farm. It depicts his family’s farm in the village of Montroig, Catalonia. It is clearly seen that such detailed realism is typical neither for Miro himself, nor for his previous works. But it can be explained. Miro graduated from the fine art academy at La Llotja, but besides that, he studied to be an accountant in Barcelona. Apparently, accountancy meticulousness has prevailed in The Farm.

Miro was cautious about art critics and probably disliked them for trying to classify him. He aimed to avoid being put into any categories and in many interviews emphasized that he’d like to abandon the ordinary methods of painting. Judging by later works, he definitely succeeded.

Being opposed to bourgeois art and to the creation of luxury goods, he was a free spirit, he loved experiments and worked in various fields of art: from illustrations to ceramics and sculpture.

What you can learn from the master

Miro does have something to teach us and the facts from his biography leave no doubt about it.

Do not give up
On February 16, 1917, the artist’s first solo exhibition is held. More than 60 fauvist works are displayed there, but none of them is sold.

Take your time
From 1918 to 1927, the artist continues to search for his own style, creating highly detailed paintings (The Vegetable Garden with Donkey, Cart Tracks), or vice versa moving away from Realism towards Cubism (Standing Nude, The Table). In 1926 Miro approaches, step by step, his own style – clearer and more abstract (Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird, Dog Barking at the Moon).

Meet and communicate
In 1920, Miro goes to Paris and meets Picasso and other artists. Picasso’s works influences him and, probably, encourages him to resume his search.

Believe in yourself
In 1921, the work on the famous The Farm starts. It takes 9 months of hard work, 7-8 hours a day. However, the size of the canvas isn’t so big – 140×122 cm. If you believe in yourself, sooner or later there will be a person who’ll believe in you the same way you do. Ernest Hemingway, who will purchase The Farm later, becomes such a person. I’d like to highlight some words written by Hemingway about this painting:

“It has in it all that you feel about Spain when you are there and all that you feel when you are away and cannot go there. No one else has been able to paint these two very opposing things”.
You can read the full chapter dedicated to the painting, which is supposed to be included in the writer’s work “The holiday, which is always with you”.

So, why not Picasso?

In this matter, the story of Hemingway and Miro is very revealing. The writer believed in the artist and saw that great passion in the works of Miro. Hemingway’s attitude towards Miro can be summarized in his own words: “No one could look at it and not know it had been painted by a great painter”.

I still subscribe to the school of thought that abstract art is not just “come on, I can do that too, just haven’t got enough time”, but is able to provoke emotions, to give rise to associations, to stimulate your imagination – to make you think. Thus, the process of perception becomes more complicated and more puzzling, but at the same time more interesting. I look at Miro’s art just as Hemingway saw his talent. That’s not to say I fully understand and unequivocally interpret his paintings, if that’s at all possible, but I feel that they cause certain sensations inside. That is what attracts me.

Picasso is an incomparable and magnificent master of his time, for me as well. There are no bad and no good artists. Each of them is talented in areas where applied self. I’m just talking about my perception of abstract art and the works of Miro.