Women Encircled by the Flight of a Bird
1941 by Joan Miró
Private Collection, Paris
With Miró’s retrospective currently showing at the Tate (until September 11th), it is time to pause and reflect on this artist’s wildly imaginative and original paintings. Developing style whilst growing up amongst various influences – cubism, expressionism, surrealism, to name but a few – Miró has always been remarkable in drawing on these styles but never conforming to them. He draws on the best bits – colour, shape, fragmentation, the surreal – and amalgamates them to form his paintings that, though truly original, betray happy reflections on aspects of painting spanning across the beginning of the twentieth century. In this painting we have the speckled waves of the dots of impressionism casting the background; colour is softly subtle, hazy in the ebb and flow of mottled brush strokes, providing a backdrop that exudes the dreamy atmosphere that the foreground’s shapes of imagination seek to convey. United in effect, these shapes juxtapose the background’s haze only in style; they are hard little outlines, adjoined in thin black and filled in with bold, bright colour. Swelling and tapering, these shapes breath the life of the women and bird they create; tumbling across the canvas, they are a tumult of energy and fascination. Circles are multiplied and manipulated; halved in colour and surrounding one another, they alternate in black and yellow casting shadow and light across the play of the painting. Encasing one another, eyes materialise to peer out at us while delicate lines appear feeler-like, stretching to connect the many thoughts and ideas that form this painting.