Montroig: Village and Church, 1919 by Joan Miro

Miro used to love the village of Montroig, and his rendering of the walls and the church at the centre show his immense power of observation, which verged on photographic precision. By contrast, the scenery that stretches out in front of it seems rather stylized and ornamental. The finely drawn vines, which are also shown in the picture above, lead us towards the lovingly painted background of his native village and the blue sky. "As soon as I start painting a landscape," says Miro, "I can feel myself beginning to love that scene with a love that springs from a gradual understanding. I gradually begin to comprehend the enormous wealth of nuances - a concentrated wealth which is a gift from the sun. It is the joy of being outside, in the country, and waiting for an understanding of a blade of grass - why should one despise this blade of grass, which is as beautiful as a tree or a mountain? Except for primitive tribes and the Japanese, nobody has ever really taken any profound interest in these divine things. People only ever look for and paint masses of trees or mountains, without listening for the music that pours forth from tiny flowers, blades of grass and little stones by the side of one's path."