Decoration of a Nursery, 1938 by Joan Miro

One cannot help asking whether such spooky figures are at all suitable as a Decoration of a Nursery. There can be no doubt that Miro used some of the fearsome figures of his "wild paintings" of the 1930s.

The long, frieze-like oblong format was first primed with a blue coat containing spots of black. However, instead of scattering his cheerfully hovering symbols, Miro designed a scenario of three figures, each of them more terrifying than the other. On the left, a dark figure with a white skull and protruding teeth lunges forward to the far right, penetrating the middle figure. Through this second figure, with its round, unfocused eyes and insect-like feelers, a third figure can be seen in flight, stretching forth to the right an umbrella-like protruberance consisting of hairs or feelers, and on the left a reptile-like head with its mouth wide agape and a tongue shooting out. The colour scheme is generally sombre, with a lot of black, white and very little yellow. Did Miro want to dispel the trauma that rested on him, or did he want to give an example of his unlimited imagination to his grandson, to whom he had dedicated this picture? Or is the painting an allusion to the polymorphous world of a child's instincts, where beauty and cruelty are often very close together?