Born in Barcelona in 1893, Joan Miró grew up in the city’s Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, neighborhood. He evolved beyond his initial Surrealist inspiration to produce hundreds of paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics over the course of his 90-year life. The Fundació Joan Miró Museum opened in Barcelona in 1975 and holds the largest collection of Joan Miró’s works today. Here are five Miro paintings in Barcelona you should be sure to see when you visit.
#1 The Barcelona Series
The Barcelona Series (1939-1944): The Barcelona Series comprises 50 black-and-white lithographs depicting misshapen creatures, both human and animal. The images were a reaction to the rise of Franco in Spain, and to Hitler’s rise in Europe — specifically the occupation of Paris — from which Miró fled in 1939.
#2 The Morning Star
The Morning Star (1939): In addition to The Barcelona Series, The Morning Star was a reflection on the changing world around him, as he and his family escaped Nazi-occupied France and returned to Spain. Miró later said the work was inspired by “The night, music and the stars [which] began to play a role in my painting.” After viewing this work and other Miro paintings in Barcelona, step outside and gaze at those same stars that inspired the artist.
#3 The Golf of the Azure
The Gold of the Azure (1967): The Gold of the Azure represents Miró’s complete transition from Surrealism to abstract art. Painted while in his 70s, some find it to have an Asian influence, others focus on its use of symbolism, while yet others emphasize its bold use of color. All seem to agree on its poetic quality that expertly combines the color and the symbolism. And some just think it’s really pretty.
#4 May 1968
May 1968 (1973): Miró, who had lived through war and revolution, didn’t let being 80 years old dampen his enthusiasm for the spirit of rebellion brewing in Europe, especially France. In May of 1968, students were protesting, workers were striking, and all were demanding more freedom of expression. For a painter like Miró, freedom of expression was of utmost importance, and this painting conveys the excitement of that time with bright colors and swirling movement.
#5 The Hope of a Condemned Man
The Hope of a Condemned Man (1974): In contrast to the exhilaration displayed in May 1968, the stark use of line and color in the triptych The Hope of a Condemned Man, painted just one year later, reflects both disgust at the approaching execution of an anarchist, and hope that his life will be spared. That hope would be rewarded the next year, when Franco passed away and Spain transitioned to democracy.
While visiting the city, plan a day to view not only Miro paintings in Barcelona, but his prints, sculpture, ceramics, and other works of art at the Fundació Joan Miró Museum and throughout the city. As one of Barcelona’s most famous artists and favorite sons, his works are a must-see.