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Guernica

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  • December 2012
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Ben Oberts
Spanish 101
Roy Mihalik
20 June 2011

Guernica
The ability of an artist to bridge the gap between making an effective political statement along with an effective artistic statement at the same time is not something that can be easily done. Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, Pablo Picasso was able to achieve such a feat in his painting “Guernica”. Pablo was able to evoke the feelings and fears of the Spanish people in his 11 X 25 ft. mural depicting the 1937 Spanish Civil War. Since completion, Guernica has become a world-renowned symbol of the wartime suffering and anti- war ideology.

The origins of Guernica can be traced to January of 1937, when Pablo Picasso was asked by the Republican Spanish Government to produce a painting for the Paris International Exposition at the 1937 World’s Fair. The Exposition was dedicated to celebrating Art and Technology in Modern Life. Organizers of the Exposition hoped this image of a bright future would spark nations out of social unrest and the economic depression of the 1930’s. The Republican Spanish government however used it as a stage to bring the worlds attention to coming danger of fascism and Fascist leader Francisco Franco and his quest to defeat the Republican government and take over Spain.

Although Picasso normally avoids politics and scorns overtly political art, he agrees to paint a mural for the exposition out of his dislike for Francisco Franco and his unfulfilled promises for peace and prosperity. For Three months, Picasso searched for inspiration. On April 27th his search would end.

At about 4:30 P.m. on Monday, April 26th, 1937, Planes flew over the town of Guernica and bombed it for just over three hours. More than 1500 civilians were killed. Guernica was a town in the province of Biscay in Basque Country. The town had no military importance other than a factory producing war material that lay on the borders of the city. The factory was untouched...