JOAN MIRO: THE LADDER OF ESCAPE (DVD) Image

Carroll Moore’s documentary short, which was produced by the National Gallery of Art, provides an invigorating overview on the life and creative output of the great Spanish Catalan painter Joan Miro (1893-1983).

Throughout his career, several significant artistic movements – including Dadaism, surrealism, abstract expressionism and Jackson Pollock-style drip art – influenced Miro, and his creativity was also shaped by the sociopolitical tumult of World War I, the Spanish Civil War, World War II and Francisco Franco’s dictatorial rule over Spain. As a result, Miro created a canon that was boldly distinctive with its original use of colors and imagery. Alternating between playful wit, rueful meditation and pure anger, Miro’s paintings reflected the artist’s complex personality within a wider environment of seemingly constant social upheaval.

This production mixes rare newsreel footage and personal photographs of Miro and his surroundings, along with the extraordinary works that were part of the National Gallery of Art’s recent Miro retrospective. Of particular note here are Miro’s invigorating triptychs – from the rich hues of “Blue I-II-III” to the minimalist angst of “The Hope of a Condemned Man,” these triple plays are astonishing masterworks of modern art.

Also included in this DVD are a visual tour of the Barcelona landmarks that influenced Miro in his youth and a study of the “squiggles, blobs and beasts” that occupied many of his provocative works. This wonderful production is a must-see for anyone with a passion for art.

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