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Miró claimed that his paintings of the mid-1920s such as Head of a Catalan Peasant came ‘almost entirely from hallucination’. However, it is now known that he meticulously copied the image of this work from a small preparatory drawing. The grid-like structure underlying the blue wash relates to the scaling-up of the initial drawing. Miró himself was a Catalan and may have chosen to represent the peasant with a red barratina cap to symbolise support for Catalan nationalism. Other elements in the painting are either ambiguous or mysterious, with the eyes, for example, also suggesting breasts.

September 2012