Picasso’s Guernica

11 Dec


Picasso’s Guernica is easily one of his most famous pieces. In protest to the Spanish Civil War, Picasso created this piece to be shown at the 1937 World’s Fair to show the horrors of the bombing of Guernica. It really shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace.

Many people see so much symbolism in the pieces, especially when talking about the horse and bull. Art historian Patricia Falling once said, “Picasso himself certainly used these characters to play many different roles over time. This has made the task of interpreting the specific meaning of the bull and the horse very tough. Their relationship is a kind of ballet that was conceived in a variety of ways throughout Picasso’s career.”

However, when reading up on the painting more, the painting is supposed to be depicted as you see it. Picasso never meant for their to be much more meaning than what you see around the picture, especially with the bull and the horse. Many people switch the bull and the horse as either protective or chaotic looking farther back into the symbolism of the culture. Quoted from Picasso, this was what he said when being asked about the painting:

“…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.” 

In other words, his original intent was to paint how he felt and to put in two symbols of Spanish culture but nothing more or less. Later was there more meaning put into the piece that may have not been intended.

L. Engle


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