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Picasso\'s Guernica. Probably the most important painting of the 20th Century.

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  1. 1. Painting of the Day #16 <ul><li>Picasso’s Guernica </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>April 26, 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, a joint assault on the town of Guernica was carried out by the German Luftwaffe and Spanish Nationalists under General Francisco Franco- on the Spanish Basques (Republicans...that is...for a Spanish Republic). The raid was led by Manfred von Richthofen (nephew to Baron von Richthofen; aka-”The Red Baron”). The airstrike came in 2 stages. The first stage was to bomb all the roads and bridges out of Guernica. The second stage was to carpet bomb the entire town of Basques. This strike killed approx 1,600 civilians and a small Basque light army. </li></ul><ul><li>Two years before-hand, Picasso was hired by the Spanish government to make a mural for the World’s fair in Paris. For the years prior to the bombing he was uninspired by the subject matter, and was having trouble as far as artistic direction. Picasso also preferred keep his art out of political matters. This action incited him though, being born in Spain and a big poo-pooer of Dictators, Picasso became a staunch supporter of the Basques and their ideal of a unified Spanish Republic. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>After the Paris worlds fair, the painting toured the world to much acclaim. The tour ended at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, and it stayed there upon Picasso’s request. He stated that this painting was not to be returned to Spain until it became a Republic, and later on stipulations included the restoration of &quot;public liberties and democratic institutions“. Franco, began trying to get the painting back on Spanish soil as early as 1968, but the MoMA refused. They also refused in 1973 after Picasso’s death. Franco died 2 years later and Spain became a monarchy. Under pressure from many sources, the MoMA, decided that Spain now fit the stipulations outlined in Picasso’s proposal and will and gave Spain the painting in 1981. </li></ul><ul><li>The painting became a universal symbol of peace and the atrocities of war. During the Vietnam War, people would hold vigils in the MoMA room that it was kept in (for some reason). Some dipshit in 1974 named Tony Shafrazi defaced the painting by spraying “KILL LIES ALL” on it w/ red spray paint in protest to the My Lai Massacre. </li></ul><ul><li>So lets see here Tony...way to deface a symbol of peace , that belongs to the Spanish Government to protest a war crime. Fortunately the painting was well varnished and the repair was done pretty easily. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Interpreting Guernica <ul><li>When pressed to explain them in Guernica , Picasso said, &quot;...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.&quot; [1] </li></ul><ul><li>Lets interpret it anyway! Give the painting a good look over. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The painting is crammed with symbolism and they wouldn’t be put there haphazardly as Picasso may suggest. He did hundreds of sketches before making this painting. Picasso had many famous of them being, “Art is to be looked at. Not talked about.”, so he was pretty tight lipped about explaining his mindset. Some symbols are pretty constant with historical paintings and previous Picasso paintings. <ul><li>Here we go... From right to left we have 1 . a woman clutching a dead child and looking up and wailing at the bull. 2 . a duck freaking out. 3 a horse stabbed by a spear over top of 4 . a dead guy with a 5 . broken sword. 6 . A light illuminates part of the painting from above the horses head. </li></ul><ul><li>To the right, 7 . a figure enters the painting through a window holding a lantern to the horse. Below that figure 8 . is a woman gazing at the light. Behind her 9 .shows a man, arms out being burnt by the flames above and below him. Above him is an window and 10 on his right is an open door. </li></ul>1 3 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  6. 6. 1. The Bull is a symbol of Spanish pride- used often in Spain. It is also a symbol that shows “fecundity, protector qualities, sacrifice, chastity and patience” (from http:// / ) Notice how It’s getting yelled at and turning away from the rest of the painting? <ul><li>2. The duck thing... Again from that website... </li></ul><ul><li>In most traditions, birds have a predominantly positive connotation. Said St. Hildegard of Bingen in her Liber de Subtilitatum, &quot;Birds symbolize the power that helps people to speak reflectively and leads them to think out many things in advance before they take action. Just as birds are lifted up into the air by their feathers and can remain wherever they wish, the soul in the body is elevated by thought and spreads its wings everywhere.&quot; They represent the human desire to escape gravity, to reach the level of the angel. The bird is often the disembodied human soul, free of its physical constrictions. </li></ul>1 2
  7. 7. 3. The horse also represents Spain in many texts and pieces of artwork. Here it has been stabbed with a spear and is shreeking in pain as it’s crumpling to the ground. Check out the nose and top teeth. They form a human skull. Awesome ! <ul><li>4. The dead soldier looks to the sky, underneath the horse, on his deathbed. </li></ul>3 4
  8. 8. 5. The dead soldier holds a sword which has been known to symbolize justice... “ power, protection, authority, strength, and courage” It is broken and has a flower growing from the hilt. <ul><li>6. The light is shaped like an eye. Light means truth, goodness, purity, wisdom and intellect. </li></ul>5 6
  9. 9. 7. The woman with the lantern; coming in from the window is probably the outside world, shocked to see what’s going on here and illuminating the tortured horse. <ul><li>8. This chick is totally gah-gah over that light. </li></ul>7 8
  10. 10. 9. One last tortured soul having a really sucky day-getting burnt and crushed. <ul><li>10. An open door. Western hemisphere paintings are read from left to right (you read things from left to right whether you like it or not, it relates to reading). The last part of the painting to be read is an open door symbolizing hope for the future . </li></ul>9 10
  11. 11. END. <ul><li>Guernica </li></ul><ul><li>Pablo Picasso (1937) </li></ul><ul><li>Oil on canvas 23x11’ </li></ul><ul><li>Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain </li></ul>