Friday, April 27, 2012

Guernica

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

On this date in 1937, German and Italian bombers at the behest of Generalissimo Francisco Franco (who is STILL dead btw) destroyed the Basque town of Guenrica in an effort to open the hearts and minds of the Spanish Basques towards Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

Prior to the bombing the National Spanish Government (the pre-Franco government) had asked Pablo Picasso to come up with a little something to exhibit at the World's Fair in Paris later in the year. He created his masterpiece, Guernica, for the exhibit, an anti-war protest mural 11 feet high x 25.6 feet wide (3.5 meters x 7.8 meters). It accomplished its goal by focusing world attention for a while on the Spanish Civil War atrocities, but didn't change the fact that Franco still won.

Today, the painting lives at the Museo Reina Sophia in Madrid, across the street from the Prado. Close up it's unsettling, even after a long day of museums and Picasso this and Picasso that. See it if you can, the Reina Sophia is a great museum. Guernica may be it's most famous resident but not the coolest.

Toad

7 comments:

Pink Benny said...

Having lived in Madrid, I can testify to the sheer overwhelming size of the piece. And, for those fortunate enough to see it in person, it brings home a stark reminder of how violence violates the psyche of human beings. In our age of video games that snuff lives....in the newspaper stories we read of atrocities like suicide bombers....Guernica is a call to the reality that we are all in this world together and that having the same creator....we really need to get along with one another. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

"Generalissimo Francisco Franco (who is STILL dead btw)"

SNL?

Guernica looks like a cross section of my brain today, everything helter skelter, unresolved chaos, oddly making this association kind of calms me down, thank you!

-Flo

IdleHistorian said...

Thanks for this post. I am an historian of air warfare in the interwar years and Guernica is certainly a landmark event. Picasso's bold mural helped make it an iconic moment in what we could call the destruction of human innocence.

Old Polo said...

I believe that Hemmingway was soon to be in the area as well.

Toad said...

Up close Guernica is an incredibly beautiful painting, located in one of the world's greatest museums. It is the star of the show at the Reina Sophia, but there is an overload of great treasures there as well.

Anonymous said...

Do so wish I could see it in real life. I can't get my eye off the organizing ground-up, corner-to-corner triangle at dead center, organized chaos made elegant. My nephew the artist had a fevered brow recently over particular social ills he sees around him, I told him he might have a Guernica in him. Spectacular masterpiece, thank you again.

-Flo

Toad said...

I hope you get there as well. Madrid is one of the world's treasures.