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Pablo Picasso's Guernica

Essay by   •  February 6, 2012  •  Essay  •  546 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,384 Views

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Pablo Picasso's Guernica is told to be one of the most viewed paintings of all time. Painted

in 1937 by Picasso, it depicts Guernica after Hitler's War machine pounded the Basque city

with bombs for three hours followed by a barrage of machine gun fire by anyone trying to

flee leaving over 1500 civilians dead. The oil painting is on a large canvas measuring 11 ft

x25 ft primarily composed of distorted bodies without any color. Picasso uses the triangle

shape often in the background and for parts of the body. He mentions that he wants the

viewer to look at the work and come up with their own ideas about other objects in the

painting which include animals located within his painting.

The actual painting is mostly composed of women and children rather than men which leads

you to believe the message is not the act of war but the pain and suffering that occur during

war. He also puts an emphasis on the expressions of each individual as they seem to be in

total terror during this event. On the left side of the painting, Picasso shows a woman

holding her dead bleeding child as she has her neck bent backwards and seems to be letting

out a blood curdling scream while she is surrounded by death.

As we are all well aware, our country has been at war for nearly a decade. Looking at this

painting I do not believe it really relates to how war is perceived in Iraq and Afghanistan. As

a US Marine who has served our country and has been to these places in times a war, I

have never viewed anything like Picasso's paining portrays. Guernica clearly shows an

attack of an area of civilians, this is unlike war but more of a mass murder. If something

like this happened, soldiers would be put on trial and I believe the UN would take action

against any nation that would kill innocents in such a horrific fashion.

Many people criticized Americans and the UN for covering the replica of Guernica during a

press conference supporting the Iraq war conflict. I can understand why this was covered

up, people do not want to see a banner for death and destruction before going into war. We

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