Miró was heavily influenced by poetry throughout his career. This painting, created in 1938, was based on the first lines of an erotic poem, using the artist’s complex system of signs and symbols to convey the poem’s words. The two triangles represent a woman while the bulbous outlined shape with hairs was his sign for the female sex.
A Star Caresses the Breast of a Negress (Painting Poem)
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 129.5 x 194.3 cm © Successió Miró / ADAGP, Paris and DACS London 2018.
One of the most iconic artists of the twentieth century, Joan Miró’s engaging and richly coloured works are underpinned by a profound concern for humanity and the importance of liberty. Born in Barcelona in 1893, he moved to Paris in 1920 where he became an influential figure in the surrealist movement. However, his identity as a Catalan remained central to his work throughout his life. He responded to the turbulent times he lived through – escaping wartime France and living under the Franco regime in Spain – by developing a deeply personal language of signs and symbols that he used throughout his long career.