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Guernica, by Picasso

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Micah Kimball

on 23 September 2014

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Transcript of Guernica, by Picasso

Guernica
, by Picasso

Background:
During WWII, Spain was in the midst of a Civil War. The Nationalist party, led by Fransico Franco, was supported by both Germany and Italy.
Two regions wanted to become independent: Catalonia and the Basque region.
To enforce conformity, Franco allowed the German Luftwaffe to practice their airstrikes on the previously untouched city of Guernica, a cultural center for the Basque region.
The strike took place April 27, 1937, and it was meant to send a message to the Republicans fighting against the Nationalists during their Civil War.
1,654 people were killed and 889 people were wounded.
Picasso's Response
While working on a piece for the Paris Exposition, Picasso learned of the events in Guernica. He was outraged and immediately abandoned his other piece to create
Guernica.
He began May 1, 1937 and finished June 4, 1937
The Piece Itself
Guernica
was presented in the Paris Exposition in June of 1937. Though the work did not draw much attention at the time, it later would "attain its power as such a potent symbol of the destruction of war on innocent lives (pablopicasso.org)."
It is now held in Queen Sofia's Museum (Museo Reina Sofia) in Madrid.
Dimensions: 11 ft tall x 26 ft wide
Meaning and Analysis
The work was painted in blue, black, white, and grey. This was meant to create a more dramatic and sorrowful feeling. It also adds to the overall confusion and disorder that Picasso was trying to depict to explain how the people from Guernica felt.
Meaning and Analysis
The background is made of newspaper-looking material. Picasso uses this to suggest how he discovered that Guernica had been bombed.
Meaning and Analysis
The Horse
It appears to be stabbed all the way through the back, from his spine through his stomach.
Though it has been wounded the horse is still showing its defiance.
At its right front knee, you see a plant growing, this was used to signify hope in the midst of chaos and destruction.
Meaning and Analysis
The Head
It is unsure what the head and arm truly represent, but many people speculate that it represents in full the ugliness that Franco had brought to his people.
In another politically inclined piece of work, "The Dream and Lie", Picasso displayed Franco as a "swollen monster (news.bbc.co.uk)" who would relentlessly take out anything and everything in its path.
There was also speculation that the head represented the Arab, Ibrahim al-Jarbi, who was caught trying to make one last attempt at Fernando and Isabel's life to take Spain back into Moorish rule. He was caught, dismembered, and thrown over the city's wall.
Meaning and Analysis
The Bull
In the midst of all the chaos and destruction, the bull is the only figure that seems to be unaffected, or at least the only figure simply watching the destruction take place.
Some speculate that the bull represents Franco, others think it was to represent Picasso.
Picasso had often used a bull to represent himself in many of his other works. It is thought that this bull was used to show the shock Picasso was facing when he heard of the bombing.
Info Citations Cont'd
"Guernica." Guernica. historylearningsite.co.uk, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2014. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/guer
McMouat, Philip. News photograph of aftermath of Gernika bombing (1937). N.d. Journey of Art in Society, unknown. www.artandsociety.com. Web.
de Lacy-Brown, Nicholas. Guernica, as it hangs. 2005. The Daily Norm, Madrid. daily-norm.com. Web. 2 Sept. 2014.
N/A. Guernica Bombing Aftermath. N.d. Bytes: 5 Minutes of Art and History: Guernica, Guernica. bytesdaily.blogspot.com. Web. 20 Sept. 2014.
Meaning and Analysis
The Mother and Child
Like most the other figures in Guernica, the fingers and toes are large and sausage-like. This works to pull away from individual suffering, and focus and suffering as a whole.
The mother's eyes are tears, and her tongue is pointed, almost like a knife directed to the bull.
Earlier depictions of the mother and child were said to have been coming down a ladder, similar to van der Weyden's "Descent from the Cross"
Picasso was said to have "cannibalized (news.bbc.co.uk)" the mother to make her more of a woman depicting suffering, than of one that mirrored only confusion.
Meaning and Analysis
The Three Women
Believed to represent the three women in his life at the time, his wife (Olga Khokhlova), his mistress (Marie-Therese Walter), and another mistress (Dora Maar).
"Three women at war, three graces, three fates, three women mourning at the cross (news.bbc.co.uk)"
The woman holding the torch is believed to be the Statue of Liberty in Paris. She represents the fight for freedom and justice to be had for the bombings in Guernica.
Picture Citations
http://news.bbc.co.uk/shared/img/o.gif
http://www.historytoday.com/sites/default/files/guernica_ruins.jpg
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00063/p49guernica_63378c.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-w25TzmLGz1Y/UIrf4n_0-1I/AAAAAAAALyI/-Xq7FppL6Zs/s640/Guernica+2.jpg
http://buber.net/Basque/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/_gernika-bombardeo.jpg
http://www.markwk.com/teaching/lessons/quino-picasso-%20guernica/images/Gernika3.jpg
http://www.pablopicasso.org/images/picasso-guernica.jpg
http://www.markwk.com/teaching/lessons/quino-picasso-%20guernica/images/guernica.jpg
http://www.vagon293.es/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Guernica.jpg
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45641000/gif/_45641976_horse.gif
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45641000/gif/_45641977_bull.gif
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45641000/gif/_45641978_head.gif
http://hoodedutilitarian.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/82.jpg
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45642000/gif/_45642165_mother.gif
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1a/Weyden_Deposition.jpg/550px-Weyden_Deposition.jpg
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45641000/gif/_45641980_threewomen.gif
Information Citations
"Guernica."
Guernica
. N.p.,n.d. Web. 18 September 2014. <http://www.oneonta.edu/faculty/ farberas/arth/arth200/guernica.html>.

"Guernica Meaning: Analysis & Interpretation of Painting by Pablo Picasso."
Guernica Meaning: Analysis & Interpretation of Painting by Pablo Picasso
. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 September 2014.<http://legomenon.com/guernica-meaning-analysis-of-painting-by-pablo-picasso.html>.

"Pablo Picasso." Guernica. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 September 2014. <http://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.hsp#prettyphoto>.k

"Piecing Together Guernica." news.bbc.co.uk. BBC News, 7 Apr. 2009. Web. 20 Sept. 2014. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7986540.stm>

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. "Spanish Civil War (Spanish History)." Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web 19 September 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/558032/Spanish-Civil-War>.
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