Mas Miró, Joan Mirós’ family farmhouse and inspiration for the painting "The Farm"
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The notion that a picture is worth a thousand words is meant to convey the power of imagery. But what of the power of words—if they are Hemingway’s musings on a work of art, Van Gogh’s personal letters, or Michelangelo’s thoughts on his life and art expressed in his poetry?
Explore the alchemy that occurs at the intersection of art and literature in this Sunday afternoon series with David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art.
Ernest Hemingway, Joan Miró, and The Farm (1921-22)
Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved possession was the painting by the Spanish artist Joan Miró titled The Farm, housed today in the National Gallery of Art. For both the painter and the writer The Farm crystallized everything that was true and noble about Spain, or more specifically, Catalonia and the Catalan people. Miró referred to the painting as “a résumé of my entire life in the country.” For Hemingway, who first met Miró in 1923, the painting embodied “… all that you feel about Spain when you are there and all that you feel when you are away and cannot go there. No one else has been able to paint these two very opposing things.”
The painting—its subject and larger political and cultural significance—signified a lifelong personal touchstone for both men. The role it played in their lives reveals a host of artistic insights into the relationship between word and image, reality and imagination, and finally, between tradition and modernist innovation.
Recommended reading: Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon, Scribner
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
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