Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Picasso's Guernica

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.

From Wikipedia:
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.


  1. Guernica was returned to Spain years ago. Its in the Prado in Madrid I think. It used to be in the MOMA in NY ( I saw it there) but no more.

  2. It's certainly one of the works of art I'd go out of my way to see in person. Whenever I make it to Spain, I guess.

    The only time I went to the MOMA it was a bit of a disappointment---all of the Dali works were on loan for some traveling exhibit. Did get to see Picasso's Demoiselles though.

  3. Although I don't remember Guernica being in the movie, I did like Children of Men quite a lot. I always find it odd that the book it came from was written by mystery writer P.D.James in her one effort at a futuristic novel. It's also pretty much the only one I didn't read, so I guess I didn't help her much in her efforts to branch out.

    What's funny is that I just looked up the movie on IMDB to make sure I was thinking of the right film and saw that it was directed by Alfonso CuarĂ³n, and thought, but I just saw that name last night. Turns out he is the director of Gravity, which is being heavily promoted all over the place right now.

  4. "Gravity" is getting rave reviews and it's Cuaron's first film since "Children of Men" (way back in 2006) so I was inspired to go back and re-watch the latter.