Picasso Paints Guernica (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Created for the Paris International Exposition, the painting expresses a great artist’s horror at the bombing of the Basque capital Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
Summary of Event
Spanish by birth, Pablo Picasso spent most of his working life in France, in or near Paris. His political sympathies were always on the left (he joined the Communist Party in 1944), though his art did not begin to contain explicit political themes until the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, when a group of right-wing military officers, headed by Francisco Franco, attacked the democratically elected government of Spain. Outgunned by Franco and his allies (the Fascist regimes of Germany and Italy), the Spanish republic waged a losing battle over a three-year period, gradually relinquishing territory to the rebels, who mercilessly bombed the civilian population.
In early 1937, Picasso had written a poem ridiculing Franco, rejecting his rebellion, treating him as a subhuman type, and evoking the violence of war: the screaming of women, children, and animals, of inanimate objects such as beds, chairs, and curtains, and of nature itself--a holocaust of screaming that could be seen and smelled because it permeated everything. Picasso’s strongest statement against the assault on the republic, however, came after the bombing on April 26, 1937, of the Basque capital Guernica, where sixteen hundred of seven...
(The entire section is 2344 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!