Visiting Guernica

Yesterday I was taken to Madrid to see one of the most famous paintings of all time. “Guernica”.
It is enormous, 11 feet tall and 25 feet wide. The whole thing is a monochromatic black and white, owning the room. The painting itself is overwhelming; one must know the history to truly understand it. “Guernica” is a political piece. During WWII, most of the impressionists of Europe formed an alliance in order to campaign against the fascist regime. This was especially true in light of Franco’s takeover of Spain. The impressionists asked Pablo Picasso to join the resistance, wanting him to create pieces to support the Republic. When he agreed, the impressionists were enthusiastic. As the war went on and Franco’s rule became more violent, the impressionists waited. Where was Picasso? They needed his strong presence to rally the people and yet, there was no sign of his contribution. On April 26 of 1937, the Basque town of Guernica was bombed. Franco’s allies, Germany and Italy, rained explosion after explosion down on the people. They used machine guns for accuracy. After hours of continuous insanity, all that was left was a charred shell of a village.
Upon hearing the news of Guernica, Picasso began his response. It took him a month and a few days of working tirelessly to complete the finished product. He described the painting as his “Terror” upon learning of the bombing. The impressionists arranged for the painting to be shown in France, where is was widely accepted. Picasso then dedicated “Guernica” to the people of Spain. He stated that “Guernica” was not allowed to be displayed in Spain until Franco was dead and democracy was restored to the country. “Guernica” lived in New York’s Museum of Modern Art until 1981 when democracy was finally reinstated following Franco’s death in 1975. Spain has had democracy for only 33 years. Think about that for a minute. This country has come a long way in such a short amount of time. Congratulations Spain! “Guernica” is in its rightful place.


One thought on “Visiting Guernica

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s