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Art and Images in Psychiatry |

Carnival of the Harlequin Joan Miró

James C. Harris, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Developmental Neuropsychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(3):226-227. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2717.
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Catalan Spanish painter Joan Miró (1893-1983) thought of himself as both painter and poet. For him, painting was a means to express his inner life through visionary art (first and second epigraphs). When he stood in front of a canvas, he said: “I never know what I’m going to do—and nobody is more surprised than me at what comes out.”2(p117) Yet once the images were apparent to him, he took care in their execution, seeking to probe deeper into the nature of reality.3

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The ball of yarn unraveled by cats dressed up as smoky harlequins twisting inside me and stabbing my gut during the period of my great hunger that gave birth to the hallucinations recorded in this painting. …I had pulled out a nail from the pedestrian crossing and put it in my eye like a monocle a gentleman whose fasting ears are fascinated by the grace of a flight of butterflies musical rainbow eyes falling like a rain of lyres a ladder to escape the disgust of life…the revolting drama of reality guitar music shooting stars crossing blue space to pin themselves on the body of my fog that goes around in a luminous circle. …2(p164)Joan Miró (1893-1983), Spanish. Carnival of the Harlequin, 1924-1925. Oil on canvas, 93.3 × 119.38 × 8.25 cm (363/4 × 47 × 31/4 in). Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Photo Credit: Albright-Knox Art Gallery/Art Resource, New York, NY. © Successió Miró/Artist Rights Society (ARS) New York/ADAGP, Paris 2014.

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