Pablo Picasso's Guernica
Picasso, sympathetic to the Republican cause, was horrified by the reports. Guernica is his memorial to the massacre, and after hundreds of sketches, the painting was done in less than a month before being delivered to the Fair’s Spanish Pavilion, where it became the central attraction. Rather than the typical celebration of technology people expected to see at a world’s fair, in his mural, they saw a raw and anguished anti-war statement, a haunting piece of work that became a universal howl against the ravages of war. On a large canvas he painted deformed figures of women and children writhing in a burning city.A broken sword in hand, a dismembered fighter lies with wide open eyes, an impassive bull, a wounded dove and an agonising horse nearby. Picasso did not agree with Franco´s regime and he was living in France for a long period of time until his death in 1973 when he was 91 years old. One of the most famous passages about his life is when he was interrogated by the Gestapo while the Nazi occupation in Paris. When the officers saw the Guernica they asked him “Did you paint that?” and he replied “No, you did” Picasso's picture still resonates with tragedy, capturing the full terror and horror of this terrible moment in history. It is still regarded as the 20thcentury’s most powerful artistic indictment against war, and remains just as relevant to civilians around the world who continue to be caught in today’s conflagrations. The work’s emotional power comes from its immense size of 349 cm times 776 cm (about 11ft tall and 25ft wide). It is a painting challenges rather than accepts the notion of war as heroic.
Guernica - A.S Knowland
Irun- Badajoz - Malaga - and then Guernica
So that the swastika and the eagle
might spring from the blood-red soil,
bombs were sown into the earth at Guernica,
whose only harvest was a calculated slaughter.
Lest freedon should wave between the grasses
and the corn its proud emblem, or love
be allowed to tread its native fields,
Fascism was sent to destroy the innocent,
and, goose-stepping to the exaggerated waving
of the two-faced flag, to save Spain.
But though the soil be saturated with blood
as a very efficient fertiliser, the furrow
of the ghastly Fasces shall remain barren.
The planted swastika, the eagle grafted
on natural stock shall wither and remain sere;
for no uniformed force shall marshall the sap
thrilling to thrust buds into blossoms, or quicken
the dead ends of the blighted branches;
but the soil shall be set against an alien crop
and the seed be blasted in the planting.
But strength lies in the strength of the roots.
They shall not pass to ruin Spain!
The Penguin Book of
Spanish Civil War Verse (1980)