Pablo Picasso's Guernica

1227 Words5 Pages
Pablo Picasso is known as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century because of the wide array of art styles he has helped discover most notably cubism and surrealism. His most famous piece of art is a mural called Guernica. The Spanish republican government commissioned him to paint Guernica in response to the bombing of the Spanish city of Guernica by German and Italian warplanes in 1937. The mural shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. After painting the mural it was sent on a tour around the world and while it did Picasso spent his time in France. On April 27th, 1937, Nazi warplanes destroyed the little village in northern Spain called Guernica.…show more content…
The Guernica measures 11 feet tall by 25.6 feet wide, immersing you in its large figures and actions. The painting is only black, white, and grey which contrasts with the chaos of the scene shown and invokes the immediacy of a newspaper photograph. The chaos caused by Europe 's instability in the 1930’s and 40’s is shown in Guernica, with humans and animals jumbled together into a background with broken shapes. Images overlap and intersect, obscuring forms and making it hard to distinguish what they are. At the center of the painting is a horse, probably representing the Spanish people, with a spear driven through it reacting in horror. You can see several victims of the bombing. Some of them are still living while some are dead. A figure sprawled prone in the front of the painting appears to be a corpse and is surrounded on both sides by living victims, screaming in agony. There is a mother holding a baby who appears to have died during the bombing which portrays the ultimate tragedy of war. This is one of the most unforgettable images in the painting. Next to her is the head and partial body of a large bull who is the only unharmed and calm figure amidst the chaos. At the other end of the painting is a person is being eaten alive by a monster. The true meaning of each symbol is controversial. Picasso says “It isn’t up to the painter to define the symbols. Otherwise it would be better if he wrote them out in so many words. The public who look at the picture must interpret the symbols as they understand them.” Picasso as well states when asked to explain the elements in Guernica “...this bull is a bull and this horse is a horse... If you give a meaning to certain things in my paintings it may be very true, but it is not my idea to give this meaning. What ideas and conclusions you have got I obtained too, but instinctively, unconsciously. I make the painting for the painting. I paint the objects for what they are.” There is no doubt that the images in Guernica

More about Pablo Picasso's Guernica

Open Document