Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

The most epic and wrathful work of Pablo Picasso – the canvas “Guernica”.

Guernica is a city in Spain that historically belongs to the Basques. On April 26, 1937, the Spaniards were shocked by the tragedy that unfolded on the territory of an obscure municipality – Guernick was wiped off by German aircraft, the Condor legion. More than 1,000 bombs were dropped on the city, and those sections of the city that did not destroy the shells burned down within 3 days. There were a lot of dead, more than a third of the total population, the survivors were left homeless, many monuments of antiquity and cultural artifacts were killed under the ruins.

Strangely enough, the artist himself was never in Guernica, however, the news of the tragedy impressed Picasso extremely, however, none of their Spaniards could not remain indifferent to the news about the destruction of the whole peaceful city.

The master embodied his anger and civil position in a large-scale canvas, which was presented at the World Exhibition in Paris. Today, one can only be amazed – a three by eight meter picture was painted in just one month. There is evidence that the author could spend at work 12 hours a day.

With its impressive format and compositional structure, the picture resembles a triptych – among the universal house of figures and emotions, three distinct fragments can be distinguished.

The picture is painted in oil in black and white, and thus resembles a monochrome chronicle of terrible events. Grief, suffering, horror, despair permeate the canvas. This is undoubtedly a human tragedy – out of place, out of time, out of realism. It was this tragedy that Picasso portrayed.

The action takes place in a cramped basement, where people, animals and birds are “closed”. A rough but characteristic interior is presented in outline – the ceiling beams of the basement, slabs on the floor, window and door openings. The foreground is highlighted by a triangle, embracing the main characters. Light comes from the symbolic eye-lamp.

In the center of the triangle is depicted an agonizing horse, to whose head someone’s hand with a lamp is drawn. Under the hoofs of a dying horse, there lies a male soldier, whose body is divided or chopped into separate parts. A colossal impression on the viewer has a flower clamped in his hand, a symbol of innocence, in combination with wide-open, but already dead eyes. In the hands of men, stigmata can be considered as confirmation of an innocent murdered man. The only armed warrior in the picture can no longer protect anyone – he is killed, “eaten” from the inside, and a useless fragment of a sword sticks out in his hand. A woman rushed to the dead man, her leg was almost torn off, and her eyes were fixed on the lamp.

Another strong emotional hero is the mother, screaming over the dead child hanging in her arms. Her gaze is turned towards heaven, and her mouth is frozen in an inhuman cry. Tiny legs and pens, small fingers, the upturned face – the most heartbreaking image on the canvas, the quintessence of the horror of what is happening.

The picture is dominated by an unusual linear perspective. In addition to linear construction, the canvas, of course, has a certain volume and depth. From the stylistic point of view, it is also quite simple to find discrepancies – frank cubism is combined here with elements of realism.

Looking at the canvas, you inevitably come to the feeling that you are looking at the foreground as if through a transparent glass wall – a sort of aquarium where tragedy unfolds in a confined space.

When you first “read” the work immediately notice the bull and he is also here for a reason. Minotaur, bull – is a popular symbol of the war in Spain.

If the agony and suffering in the picture is illustrated clearly and clearly, then the main mystery remains the causes of general chaos. Who killed the child, mutilated a man, injured a horse, set a fire? The enemy is invisible, invisible, but inevitable and elusive. It is not clear who needs to resist, from whom to flee and save – that is what inspires horror.

The phenomenon of Picasso in the work – an amazing real feeling of horror, even the apocalypse with a very conventional technique, far from realistic.

The society accepted the picture ambiguously. Some witnesses claim that their backs were more often turned to the canvas, however, it nevertheless won recognition. For example, Dolores Ibarururri Gomez was impressed by what he saw, and said that the work was a loud accusation against fascism and the Franco regime.

“Guernica” brought fame to Picasso to the whole world. She was again approached after the tragic events in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The canvas was in the Prado Museum for a long time, as Pablo Picasso himself wanted, but in the 90s she was transported to Madrid. And as half a century ago, the picture attracts attention and arouses strong emotions, one can stand very long next to it, finding in each part new elements and their readings, imbued with human pain and suffering.

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