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Painting, 1937, 349.3×776.6 cm

Description of the artwork «Guernica»

April 26, 1937 on Guernica, a historical and cultural center of the Basque Country, all hell broke loose. Around 16:30 began a two hour bombardment of the German Legion "Condor". It was followed by a large-scale fire, turning Guernica into ruins. According to various sources, the bombardment claimed the lives of several hundred to several thousand people. Worst of all is the fact that most of the victims were women and children, since most of the male population at that time was involved in the fighting of the Spanish Civil war.

Tragic news from the homeland are unable to leave Picasso has repeatedly stated his apolitical, indifferent. At that time the artist worked on a canvas for the Spanish pavilion at the upcoming world exhibition in Paris. After learning about the bombing of Guernica, the artist instantly changes the concept and takes on a new painting, which became one of the most powerful artistic and political statements in history.

"Guernica"Picasso became a perpetual reminder of the horrors of war and one of the most famous anti-war symbols. A monumental painting measuring about four by eight meters, was written in record time (work on the painting took Picasso's little more than a month - from 1 may to 4 June), featuring not abstract heroes on the battlefield, whose exploits will be sung repeatedly. Picasso writes of ordinary people, whose names do not write in the history books, but they at all times become the true victims of any war. The artist chose to "Guernica" a black and white palette, and even pure white here, there is only different shades of gray. For Picasso the world, which saw a wheel war is a world without colors, the world I left behind life itself.

There are many interpretations of the paintings, which are often at odds with each other. In particular, this applies to the depicted on the canvas of a bull and a horse. Some critics argued that the painting should not be taken as a political statement, since the image of the bull or the Minotaur symbolizes here in the first place the ego of Picasso himself. However, commenting on the painting, the artist said that the bull is the evil and cruelty which embodiment before and during the Second World war was fascism. According to Picasso's wounded horse represents the residents of Guernica, the victims and the victims in the massacre. But, despite the obvious gloom of the canvas and the horror that it inspires, the artist leaves his characters and the viewer hope in the form of peacefully burning lamp under the shade.

Picasso once said that "the light in the picture is the peace that will eternally strive for every living being".

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Battle scene, Historical scene

Style of art: Cubism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1937

Size: 349.3×776.6 cm

Artwork in selections: 113 selections