Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
Likely Picasso’s most famous work, Guernica is certainly the artist’s most powerful political statement. The work was painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War; unremorsefully displaying the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicted upon individuals, especially innocent civilians. By using a palette of gray, black, and white, Picasso immediately evokes a serious tone and emulates the cover of newspapers published after the bombing – how Picasso first learned of the atrocity. The scene depicted is incredibly multifaceted, taking place within a room where, on the left, a wide-eyed bull stands over a woman cradling the corpse of her child in her arms. The center is occupied by a horse falling in agony as if it had just been stabbed; a large gaping wound being a major point of focus in the painting. Under the horse is a dead, dismembered soldier; his hand on a severed arm still grasping a shattered sword from which a flower grows. Sitting in the open palm of the dead soldier is a stigma, a symbol of martyrdom derived from the stigmata of Christ. A light bulb blazes in the shape of an evil eye over the suffering horse’s head: a bare bulb in a torturer’s cell. To the right is another woman, running frantically in hysteria. The painting is incredibly layered, symbolic, and has since gained monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace; essentially bringing the Spanish Civil War to the world’s attention.
Prints include a suitably sized white border which enhances their look when placed in any standard off-the-shelf frame.