Mirό exhibition at Tate Modern

I went to the Mirό exhibition at Tate Modern yesterday. Joan Mirό has been compared to Picasso inasmuch as he embraced many different styles of art, fauvism, cubism, surrealism etc & like Picasso was a master craftsman. His early paintings were representative, inasmuch as people looked like people, houses looked like houses, animals looked like animals.  His paintings are full of symbolism, mainly about Franco’s repression. He identified with the poor & downtrodden. Like Picasso he opposed Franco.  He admired Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi & drew a big series of drawings on the subject of Franco as Ubu. The rage in these drawings is palpable. Mirό was a Catalan nationalist who opposed Franco mainly because of what he did to the Catalan region, the clampdown on personal freedom & the repression in general. Barcelona in particular. Picasso though was more of a Marxist who wanted to change the whole of Spain, not just the Catalan region. Picasso remained in exile, refusing to go back while Franco was alive. Mirό stayed in Spain & opposed him from the inside. Some of Mirό’s paintings do fall into the category of anyone could have done that. Indeed one of them was just black paint splashed onto white canvas. But most were incredibly powerful if not always beautiful. I felt that he probably had a great sense of humour & was laughing at those who took all of his art seriously. But he was much admired by Picasso & others.

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