The work “The Crypt” is the first picture with dramatic anti-war content after the acclaimed Guernica in 1937. One can also consider the obvious stylistic similarity of these two triangle-aching works.
Over the picture, Picasso began in 1944, creating a masterpiece-artistic response to the inhuman events of the Second World War. Who is depicted in this picture? Picasso does not give a concrete answer, however, it is widely accepted that the great artist paid tribute to the victims of the concentration camps, which were abundantly built throughout Europe by the Nazis.
It is very difficult to see the heroes of the canvas – this is some sort of chaotic pile of bodies tied together. Adults and children, stiffened parts of the body, legs and arms, heads thrown back, swollen stomachs – all this creates an amazingly dramatic scene. At the same time, the terrible picture of people killed and tortured has its own terrible dynamics – this is not the eternal peace that all people who have finished their lives deserve. At some superreal level one can catch the stench of a closed room, mustiness, cold and terrible atmosphere.
The contrast is the image of some food above the bodies, thrown into the crypt. On a huge table with massive legs – a mug, vaguely reminiscent of an hourglass, a plate and bread – in the meager meal you can see a symbolic embodiment of the commemorative meal.
Picasso used oil and coal to paint a picture. Striking is how the master uses the shadows – it is a kind of method of artistic influence. All fragments of the picture are underlined by sharp shadows drawn in blue and dark bluish-violet. Picasso left the top part of the work intentionally only in the drawing, thereby shifting the emphasis to the crypt itself.
And today, the work, it would seem, written not at all in the spirit of realism, has an incredibly strong effect on any viewer: either because the memory of the war and atrocities is still alive and not lost its sharpness more than half a century later, or if it is the genius of the master who was able to create in his unique manner a masterpiece affecting the finest strings.
Today, the painting “The Crypt” is on display in New York and is included in the list of the most famous works of Pablo Picasso.