Constellations (Miró)

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The Morning Star (from Constellations)
ArtistJoan Miró
Dimensions38 cm × 46 cm (15 in × 18 in)
LocationFundació Joan Miró, Barcelona

Constellations is a series of 23 small paintings on paper, initiated by Joan Miró in 1939 in Varengeville-sur-Mer and completed in 1941 between Mallorca and Mont-roig del Camp. The Fundació Joan Miró preserves a work of this series and The Morning Star, one of the most important pieces of the series.[1] The painter gave to his wife and she later donated to the Foundation.[1]


In August 1939, a month before the outbreak of the World War II, Miró, with his family escaped Paris and moved to Varengeville-sur-Mer, a small town in Normandy. This sentiment of escaping is clearly reflected in this series' harmonic and poetic production. At Varengeville-sur-Mer he painted the top ten works in the series which was later called Constellations, beginning with The Dawn and The Scale of Evasion.

After escaping from France, Miró continued the series of Constellations in Mallorca, creating a more complex group of ten more. The last three were created in 1941 in his ancestral home in Mont-roig del Camp. Whilst completing this series he began the first sketches of the Barcelona Series engravings, where he would repeat part of his imagery.

I felt a deep desire to flee. I shut myself deliberately. The night, music and the stars began to play a role in my painting.

— Joan Miró


This series is characterized by the shapes of stars, birds and women. Miró was making up his own mature language. The shapers are overlapping in different ways to create a specific colour space. This new idea was repeated constantly in the artist's work. Luckily the series are dated, allowing the sequence in chronological order.

The backgrounds of the works are all painted in soft tones, and the vast majority of works are full of intersecting black lines, with details painted in the primary colours. Miró used astral maps which were like representations of cosmic space.[2]

Joan Punyet, grandson of the artist, said in an interview at TV3:

The Constellations are a sublime break. They are the way to the power. Towards the universe. They are a door to escape from a circumstantial war, from a genocide, from the brutality of nonsense. The Constellations are like saying: my only salvation in this world tragedy is the spirit, the soul that leads me to heaven. That brings me to the sublime. It is as if Miró was a nocturnal bird able to escape from the earth, leaving the sky, traveling across the sky, the stars, to the constellations, to capture them all with one hand, and draw back to earth them on a sheet of paper.

— John Punyet [3]


In 2002, American percussionist/composer Bobby Previte released the album The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró on Tzadik Records. Inspired by Miró's Constellations series, Previte composed a series of short pieces (none longer than about 3 minutes) to parallel the small size of Miró's paintings. Privete's compositions for an ensemble of up to ten musicians was described by critics as "unconventionally light, ethereal, and dreamlike".[4] Previte's compositions had their American performance debut in 2008 with an eight-piece ensemble conducted by Christian Muthspiel. Featuring readings of Miró's letters and diaries by David Patrick Kelly, the performance was reviewed in The New York Times, mostly positively, which noted that large projections of the paintings behind the musicians were helpful in underlining Previte's compositions: "Some of the gouaches feature a gridlike clutter of dots and dashes that seem to allude, if obliquely, to musical notation."[5] The performance was broadcast live on WYNC, which is available as a podcast.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Morning star". Fundació Joan Miró. Retrieved 2011-10-30.[permanent dead link] - Information about the work the Foundation website
  2. ^ Erben 2004: p.103
  3. ^ "Fragments of interview of Joan Punyet". El meu avi (in Catalan). TV3. Archived from the original on 2013-01-07. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^

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