The Sun, A Manly Man, Two Mirrors, A Smart Bird With A Sense Of Humor, Two Shadows And Four Planets

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Joan Miro, “Personage and Bird in Front of the Sun”, 1963

The sun and the bird have “invaded” the interior (in the spirit of Boris Pasternak’s theme of nature and “civilization”), where the personage dominated the space with his eroticized self-centrality. He was alone in the room. He was with himself. He was with himself through the mirror (looking at himself in the mirror). Miro made numerous paintings with women and mirrors, women and birds, women and sun. But sometimes he transforms women into (more enigmatic) personages. Here we have a painting where Miro depicts the personage-man playfully and frivolously enjoying himself in the mirror. But painterly speaking, the mirror is looking at him – the green color is looking at the blue color, and by this it lets the blue configuration see itself in the green not without narcissistic pride.

But the sun itself intervenes between the personage and his reflection. It, as if, made a subliminal photo of the man’s whole figure and projected it behind him. The sun made the personage’s tall Don-Quixote figure into Sancho Panza. But why is the shadow of the personage white? May be, because it is not just a regular shadow but the one from Miro’s painting and for this reason it is not identical with itself but showing the meaning of the figure. The whiteness of the shadow is prophetic – enlightening. It shows the essence of the human being. Personage of the painting only looks like Don Quixote (with his secularly spiritual concerns about life, but in reality it is just Sancho Panza – person without sublime motivations. Behind all the haughty image of ourselves we see the mediocre human being. Personage was just visually celebrating himself in front of the mirror – how he (well, synecdochically speaking) looks (seen from outside).

In the upper left corner of the painting we see a bird who offers the personage a small round mirror, in which the protagonist of the painting (male figure) will be able to see, this time – his face. By this gesture the bird reminds the personage about his “inappropriate” (wasteful) self-admiration in front of the mirror standing on the floor, and silently but insistently remind him about “the proper ways”. The bird is witty – it addresses the man-personage without any tasteless moralism.

Like in other Miro’s paintings, the cosmic world is part of human life. Like Sancho Panza shadow of Don Quixote-like figure of the personage is with red heart, the face of the personage is also a kind of a planet, and so is the round mirror which the bird offers him.

The bird’s shadow (behind the personage’s head), is, as if, holding Sancho Panza shadow of the personage, as a puppeteer. This is, it seems, Miro’s accent on conformism of the male-personage’s personality. So, the sun and the bird, as if, unite in their pedagogical task of trying to awaken the personage’s self-consciousness.