The current exhibit at the Pensacola Museum of Art features the work of Joan Miro. He was a Spanish artist whose career spanned 80 years. Each period of his work is a little different. For examples of his art, visit http://joanmiro.com.
Joan started drawing when he was five years old. He studied arts at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts and at the Academia Gali. His work during this time was very realistic. His parents wanted him to be a businessman, and to please them, he took business classes along with art classes. Joan worked as an accountant for two years until he had some kind of a nervous breakdown. His parents finally accepted their son’s choice of a career as an artist, and he began to work at art full time.
In the beginnings of his career he dabbled in different painting styles that were fashionable at the turn of the century like Fauvism and Cubism. He fell in love with the use of bold colors and simple shapes. The next stage of his career takes a turn toward Cubism. In 1921 he moved to Paris and met Pablo Picasso. He experimented with the simplified shapes. Then in 1924 he became friends with the Surrealist painter Andre Breton. He combined their dream-like compositions, while still keeping the bold colors and simple shapes from his previous style. He also added an element of folk art, drawing simple people with simple shapes. This combination of styles is what makes his work a little different from other artists.
Miro was also different from other artists because he didn’t have the same personality type that other artists have. He felt like an outsider among his own group of friends. Many artists are a bit of a rebel, but Miro was a disciplined, hard working man. He didn’t say very much, and dressed in modest clothes. He was orderly, reliable and on time.
Like other artists of his time, Miro published books of prints to make his art work affordable to common people. Some of the art on display is from those books. If you look closely, there is a fold and staple marks down the middle of the page. Images that are similar to the ones at the museum can be seen at http://www.spaightwoodgalleries.com/Pages/Miro_1975_Lith2.html
These compositions have an element of conflict in them. When war broke out in Europe, Miro was forced to flee with his family. Warfare and political tension became the main theme of his art during the 1940’s. These works influenced another group of artists called American Abstract Expressionists, who took abstract art one step further and started making non-objective art. (art that doesn’t have any objects in it, but tries to portray an emotion, like the canvas hanging in the stairwell at the museum.)
Middle school or high school students can make a work similar to these by trying to capture the tension and frustration going on with the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, the war in Afganistan, and terrorism. A portrait about terrorism in Miro’s style would be an appropriate tribute, because one of his murals was hanging in the World Trade Center and was destroyed on 9-11.
Making a work of art that is similar to his Cubist works is an easy project for third grade and up. You will need large sheets of paper, and some sort of drawing or painting media.
First, make a scribble all over the page. Look at the scribble and see if you can find shapes that look like something. Color in the shapes to reveal these figures. Add eyes, noses, and mouths if they are needed, again using simple shapes and bold colors.
- The student used bold colors
- The student used simple shapes
- The student used imagination to find figures and objects in the composition
- The student filled the page.