Joan Miro

Maternité [Maternity] (1924)

About this artwork

Miró invented his own pictorial language, which became increasingly abstract over time. Although reduced to basic forms, in this painting we can recognise that the central figure is female. One of her breasts is shown in profile, the other from the front. Two insect-like infants, one male, the other female, are suspended from her breasts. The figures seem to be floating in space. The painting has its origins in a postcard of a Spanish dancer wearing a polka-dot dress. The only remaining trace of this in the painting is the pierced skirt, which refers to the dancer's dress.

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  • title: Maternité [Maternity]
  • accession number: GMA 3589
  • artist: Joan MiroSpanish (1893 - 1983)
  • gallery: On Loan
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Animals Surrealism
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1924
  • measurements: 92.10 x 73.10 cm (framed: 106.80 x 87.90 x 8.20 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund (William Leng Bequest ) and members of the public, 1991
  • copyright: © Succession Miro/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016.
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Joan Miro

Joan Miro

Miró was born in Barcelona and moved to Paris in 1920. His early work combined miniaturist detail with a cubist fragmentation of space. In Paris he abandoned this style and began to paint an imaginary world full of strange, insect-like figures and forms, which seemed to float in space. This fantastic sign language, which was partly inspired by images from the artist's unconscious mind, soon became a hallmark of Surrealist art. Although he spent time away from Spain, Miró remained interested in Catalonian folklore throughout his career.