Guernica is a powerful and moving piece of political art created by Pablo Picasso. The mural is huge and dominating, measuring 3.5 by 7.8 meters, and is colored starkly in gray, black and white. The abstract scene of pain and suffering depicts the atrocities of war on humanity, especially the innocent civilians. Since its creation in 1937, Guernica “has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace”(Pablo Picasso).
Guernica is a town in the Spanish Bosque region, and during the Spanish Civil war it was regarded as the headquarters of the Republican resistance movement, which was under attack by the fascist regime headed by Generalissimo Francisco Franco (PBS). Aided by the Nazi regime, Franco’s forces devastated the town of Guernica during a bombing campaign, bringing death and destruction to the innocent farmers of the region. Picasso was emotionally driven to create the mural when he heard of a devastating bombing attack on Guernica by the Nazi’s on April 26, 1937. During this Blitzkrieg type attack, the Nazi’s were able to use the town as a testing ground for their new military weapons and bombs (Pablo Picasso).
Picasso wanted to create a piece of art that would make the world aware not only of the plight of the Spanish people, but all of those who suffer needlessly from war. By introducing Guernica into a classroom, children can learn not only about a famous artist and a real historical event, they can also understand how society has and continues to struggle against violence and injustice. Guernica, with its stark colors and bold characters, expresses its message in a way that is easy to understand by children. Art is not just about creating something fun and beautiful – it is about expressing our deepest hopes for peace within our communities. It is only by bringing awareness to a struggle that we can hope to overcome it.
- PBS. PBS. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/guernica_nav/main_guerfrm.html
- “Pablo Picasso.” Guernica by. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. http://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp