A painter, sculptor and ceramicist, Joan Miró is one of the most famous sons of Catalonia. Set amid the greenery of Montjuïc, the Fundació Joan Miró art gallery holds the most complete and extensive collection of his work. The museum opened to the public in 1975 and showcases pieces of art from other contemporary artists – a real ‘foundation’, in other words, rather than an individually themed museum. Miró wanted the gallery to be significant to the future of art at a time when creative initiative was being stifled by the Franco regime.
The artist in abstract
Joan Miró was passionate about art from a young age, making his earliest drawings at the age of eight. He didn’t have an easy path to success, with his father against his dream from the start and his first exhibition being a public failure. Today, however, he’s considered among the finest and most talented artists of his time, with a body of work that uses diverse artistic styles which capture and stimulate the imagination. He produced paintings, sculptures, textiles, ceramics and drawings, and it was his interest and ability to experiment with different forms of art that has put him up there with the greats.
The building that houses the gallery was specifically designed by Miró’s close friend, the architect Josep Sert, to show off the works of art in the best light and provide a natural path for visitors as they progress through the exhibition. It’s a bright and breezy space, which does a great job of keeping all eyes on the paintings themselves.
Step into the first room and you will come across three impressive canvases, with an intriguing use of colours, textures and materials. Moving through the gallery you can see and appreciate the diversity of Miró’s work throughout his life, from realism to surrealism, figurative to fantasy, minimalist to detailed.
It’s interesting to notice the particular signs and symbols Miró used often in his work, which are present in many of the paintings in the gallery. See if you can notice what these are as you walk through. Two more rooms have been added to the gallery since its opening, allowing more than 14,000 pieces to be displayed in this building. Many of his particularly notable and famous pieces are included among these, along with fine pieces of work from other artists such as Alexander Calder, Anthony Caro and Marcel Duchamp.
The best way to get to the museum is to take the funicular train from Parallel metro station up to Montjuïc. When you come out the station, take a left, and you’ll see the gallery to your right a little further along the road. For information on opening hours and admission charges take a look at the gallery’s official website.
The Fundació Joan Miró is a real treat, and whether you’re an art fanatic or not you can appreciate the extensive and diverse art it has to offer. We highly recommend investing in the audio guide available at the entrance to learn more about certain pieces of art, Miró’s life, the development of his work, and the architecture of the building itself. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the rooftop terrace sculpture garden for some quirky shots of outdoor art. The museum also has a couple of very good gift shops, with an emphasis on books and artwork by modern artists, as well as a small garden café.
After visiting the museum, you could enjoy more of what the very picturesque Montjuïc has to offer. Right next to the museum there are beautiful gardens, where you can wander around taking in the beautiful scenery and peaceful atmosphere.