I recently re-watched one of my favorite films of all time, Children of Men, and the appearance of Picasso's Guernica caught my eye. (In the film we see the original 20 ft x 10 ft masterpiece serving as a mural in a character's dining room.) I've since been reading up on this painting a bit and watching documentaries about it.
Inspired by the despicable bombing of a civilian Spanish village by German and Italian planes in 1937, the shattered, sharp, and screeching imagery gives a unique, haunting depiction of the horrors of war. With the recent stream of bullshit pouring out of American media and government concerning the desire of the United States to drop bombs on Syria (drop bombs on who?), I've thought about this painting a lot.
A tapestry of Guernica hangs inside the United Nations building and in 2003, while Colin Powell and American military officials gave a press conference detailing the urgent need to invade Iraq (in the name of "freedom" and "peace" of course), the tapestry was covered up by a large blue curtain so as not to appear in the background. Don't want to give people mixed signals, I guess.
Guernica has become a universal and powerful symbol warning humanity against the suffering and devastation of war. Moreover, the fact that there are no obvious references to the specific attack has contributed to making its message universal and timeless.