Art Study – Pablo Picasso – Guernica
At the height of the Spanish Civil War The small Spanish Basque region town of Guernica was hit by the first civilian Blitzkrieg air-raid in history on 26th April 1937. Though two years before the start of World War Two the attack was waged by the German Luftwaffe, in what became a rehearsal run for their World War bombing strategies.
As many as 800 civilians died in Guernica.
Picasso was living and working in Paris at the time and generally avoided using his work politically. Guernica changed that. He created one of the most powerful and surreal Cubist protest paintings of all time.
There are no planes, bombs or burning buildings in the black and white image of Hell. Horses, Spanish bulls, people with broken swords, etc, writhe and panic and fall in anguish and panic. It’s a capture of human tragedy that doesn’t actually blame anyone – it depicts a World stripped of love or hope or beauty. It is art devoid of beauty and actually terrifying.