In 1929, Miro made a series of four 'Imaginary Portraits' based on paintings of the past; this one was inspired by an engraving of a portrait by the minor English painter George Engleheart (1752-1829). The head and neck of the sitter are reduced to little more than cipher underneath the dominating form other broad-brimmed hat.
Miro felt despair at the Spanish Civil War and he produced this silk-screen print to be sold in aid of relief for his native country the price of one franc is a bold part of the design. The powerfully conceived figure is shown clenching a massive fist in the Loyalist salute and the inscription tells of the 'immense creative resources' of the people of Spain.
On his return to Paris from America, Miro produced a great number of paintings in two complementary styles which have been described as 'slow paintings' and 'quick paintings'. This light-hearted work belongs to the former category, with its careful delineation of shapes and forms and its dense application of bright primary colour.
Miro was haunted by the theme of the night, the time for dreams, silence and solitude and for mystic communion with the stars. His nocturnal landscapes are often inhabited by women, who sway in the moonlight, and 'birds of the night' symbols of the flight of the spirit from the waking consciousness of day.
Miro was one of the greatest graphic artists the 20th century has seen, excelling particularly at lithography the making of prints from a specially prepared stone surface. This is one of a series of ten prints by Miro and nine other artists published as a portfolio to benefit the Swiss Centre for Clinical Research on Cancer.
This is one of a series of six lithographs entitled 'Seers'. A seer is a prophet or someone who has the power to see into the future, and the handprints here allude to the idea of palm-reading. The bright colours, spattered background and whirling shapes suggest the state of ecstasy which the seer must enter in order to transcend earthly experience.