Guernica

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Picasso’s
Guernica

By: Oscar de la Torre

Table of Contents

1. Brief History on Picasso
2. History on Guernica
3. Critique by Art Historians/Interpretations
4. My interpretation/Formal Description
5. Work Cited

Oscar de la Torre
ARH-315
Diana Angoso
7 December 2011
Picasso: Guernica

1. Brief History on Picasso

Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born on October 25th, 1881 in Malaga,Spain. Picasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing at an early age. According to his mother, his first words were “piz, piz”, a shortening of lapiz, the Spanish word for ‘pencil’. In 1895, Picasso and his family moved to Barcelona after his seven-year-old sister’s death. Since his father was a drawing professor, Picasso became interested in drawing at the age of 10. Later, Picasso set off onhis own and moved to various places to gain more knowledge and skills through his love and passion for art. During his lifetime, Picasso went through different emotional stages that caused him to change his different painting styles. Throughout his art career he used different methods by using different varieties of colors, and used these colors to depict specific moods. His Blue period lastedfrom 1900-1904, where he mostly used different hues and saturations of the color blue. After his Blue period, he transitioned to the Rose period, where he started using only the shades of pink. Unfortunately, not many were interested in his work at the time because people thought it suggested a sense of suffering which was related to his previous work in the Blue period. In 1907 Picasso painted LesDemoiselles d’Avignon; which is now considered the most significant work in the development of cubism and modern abstraction. The painting was the first step to cubism, which was called analytic cubism. Picasso and Georges Braque, a French artist, gave birth to Cubism in Paris in 1907. Cubism is a technique that is understood differently through every person because it is mainly made up of shapesand neutral colors that aren’t crystal clear to the viewer. After 1912, Picasso’s works became more representational of cubism; bright decorative patterns replaced dull works that were made earlier (Johnson). Picasso’s cubist works were the first to surpass reality and become big in the art world. Picasso’s most recognizable work is the mural he created in 1937 called the Guernica. This paintingis one of the reasons why Picasso is considered as one of the most famous artists of the 20th century.

2. History on Guernica

Pablo Picasso said, “The war in Spain is a war of reaction against the people, against liberty. My whole life as an artist has been a continual struggle against the reaction, and the death of art. In the picture I'm now painting, which I shall call Guernica, and inall my recent work, I am expressing my horror of the military caste which is now plunging Spain into an ocean of misery and death.”
In January 1937, Pablo Picasso was commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for painting a mural for the Spanish pavilion in the Paris World Fair. He was paid 150,000 francs to paint it, which back then was a very large amount of money. Months later, on anafternoon on April 26th, Nazi planes bombarded the Basque town of Guernica, Spain, and machine-gunned the people fleeing from collapsing and burning houses. They don’t exactly know how many civilians died during the bombing, but modern speculations suggest that between 200 to 400 civilians died, most of them which were women and children, since most men were out fighting in the war.
Fullnewspaper coverage reached Paris on the 28th and 29th of April, which was probably when Picasso read about this disturbing disaster and now-famous account by the London Ties correspondent G.L. Steer, translated in L’Humanite and reprinted on pages 160-163 (Steer). The brutality of this action grieved Picasso tremendously, which caused the topic of the painting to be on the bombing of Guernica. Before...
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