Portrait II

Joan Miró

Barcelona, Spain, 1893 - Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1983

The painting was done during a period when Joan Miró was seeing his mature plastic language take shape, following the phase in which he came closest to Surrealism, and is characterised by an unequivocal monumentality, a feature which would become increasingly common in the artist’s works. Portrait II is a stark contrast to Miró’s first works, as can be clearly seen when it is compared to, for example, 1918’s La casa de la palmera (House with Palm Tree).
The principal image in Portrait II is a severe, almost totemic figure, and the tones used to execute the motif – pure colours applied over large areas – contribute to the stiffness of the piece, creating a striking presence of the kind that Miró achieved in most of his sculptures. The signs of severity and monumental inflexibility seen here and in other Miró paintings from the same period came about because of the tragic events of the Civil War witnessed by the artist.

Paloma Esteban Leal