miro, potato, 1928


Joan Miro was born in 1893; being born in the Spanish province of Catalonia he was very influenced by his country’s artistic heritage and native landscape. The Potato was painted in 1928; this painting was a representation of landscape in Miro’s eyes. The woman that takes full focus in this art work gives the sense that she is guarding the crops that lie under her.  Her statue like quality shows the stability of Miro’s painting.

Miro used many spherical and geometric forms to construct an almost ghost like figure, who takes up most all of the painting. Her head and body are connected by a red rod that resembles a scare-crow figure. The woman is all white which gives an idea that the woman herself is a canvas.

There are two different scenes that can be taken from this painting. One scene that develops on the outside the woman and the other on the inside; almost as if the woman is looking over and guarding/protecting something. There is an actual potato figure on her head, which is the main focus on her body that could be an example of what she is protecting. There is also an eye which gives the idea that she is watching over and protecting crops. On her body she has two breasts showing that she is in fact a woman, by exposing the breast it could be another example of how this woman is playing a motherly role in caring for crops that she is protecting. Coming out of her left breast is a string, which can be interpreted as food for the crops. To the left of that breast is a circular figure with lines coming out, almost representing a sun. To have both food and sunshine for the crops, gives a sense that this figure is almost God like because this figure now controls, protects, and watches over her crops. There are three lines coming from the potato on the head while also on the right side of her body, which could mean that the woman and the potato are one.

Miro’s use of color in this painting is very bright and expressive. His use of colors is far from reality, which gives it the whimsical theme that Miro is known for. On the far left of the painting there is what looks like a spider hanging from a triangle, although, if you look closer there is what could be a human dangling to the spider. It is interesting how he placed these two; it is like the human is all dependent on this spider and its strength. Miro could be trying to express that humans are very dependent on nature.

At first glance this painting looks like a cartoon in the shapes of the figures although when looking close this painting looks very well put together and designed to make the public think in depth at this painting. There are so many small elements that help to build what is “The Potato”.

Even after going throughout this painting I still get a sense of surrealism because yes, there are messages that you can depict but they are not directly stated in this painting. There are many symbols that make up everything about “The Potato”, I definitely believe that Miro had a skewered image of reality that he liked to show to the public.


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