In 1952 Miró painted three small canvases of equal dimensions, each with an elaborate title, which taken together could have comprised a delightful, cabinet-sized triptych: these are the present work, Chanson du bleu de la lune à la verte robe étincelles jaunes (Dupin, no. 916), and L'oiseau déploie les ailes pour parer de ses plumes les étoiles (Dupin, no. 917). From the time Miró resumed oil painting on canvas near the end of the Second World War, after having executed for nearly five years only works in various media on paper, he liked to vary to an extreme degree the size of his compositions, which ranged from the very smallest formats to grand murals that filled entire walls. His first new paintings in 1944 were little more than a foot tall (35 cm.), and many subsequently were even smaller; indeed, during that year he painted sixteen works in the no. 1 figure and marine formats (the French code for canvas sizes measuring 22 x 16 cm. or 22 x 12 cm.), similar to that used here. Miró appears to have retained a special affection for this compact surface area, returning to it occasionally thereafter into the early 1950s.
The larger canvases lent themselves to fluid, free brushstrokes, employing the full sweep of the arm, such as Miró now liked to practice, having seen first-hand and absorbed the influence of American abstract painting during his first trip to the United States in 1947. On a smaller canvas the artist usually painted in the manner that he carried over from the celebrated Constellations of 1940-1941 (Dupin, nos. 628-650). With some deliberation and a sure, steady hand, Miró first drew thin lines in black paint on a tinted ground, creating a very succinct and precise sign for the subject he had in mind. He thereafter filled in select sections of the drawing with solid, unmodeled colors, creating the brilliant effect of stained glass, which gives these small canvases a facetted, jewel-like quality. This is actually the method that Miró practiced while executing the imagery in his very largest canvases of this period, the murals he painted for the Terrace Plaza Hotel, Cincinnati, in 1947 (Dupin, no. 817; Cincinnati Museum of Art) and for Harvard University, Cambridge, in 1951 (Dupin, no. 893; The Museum of Modern Art, New York). During 1952 Miró made his second trip to the States, to view in situ the Cincinnati and Cambridge murals, and it is possible that the artist may have had some aspect of the murals in mind when he painted the present work and its companions. The conception is the same, and in this regard, the scale is irrelevant--much of the pleasure to be had from Miró's small canvases is that their imagery possesses a monumental and universal aspect, set within an intimately scaled format.
The present painting and the other two related works share a similar compositional configuration: an airborne form near the top of the canvas hovers over a figure in the lower part. The flying form here and in Dupin, no. 917 is a bird on extended wings, "spreading its fine plumage" or "spreading its wings to adorn the stars with its feathers." The aerial object in Dupin, no. 916 is a blue crescent moon. The asterisk-like signs in these pictures are the artist's symbol for a star, thus completing Miró's signature allegorical triumvirate of a oiseau, personnage et étoile, which represent the earthly and cosmic spheres of being, with the bird serving as prophet and intermediary, bringing messages to humankind from the great beyond.