Thursday, April 26, 2007

Guernica

70 years ago, 24 bombers from the Nazi 'Condor Legion' dropped their loads on the Basque town of Guernica/Gernika in Spain. From the bombs and the resulting fires, hundreds of civilians were killed.

It was immortalised by a Picasso mural named after the town. He was actually working on it before 26 April, for the Paris Exposition and was shown on the Spanish Pavilion during July of that year.

Ten days ago, I was looking at the painting, which now hangs in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Until 1981, it had never been in Spain, although prints and photographs were clandestinely produced. A full size copy is in the United Nations building (it was covered over in 2003 when Colin Powell was giving a press conference to promote the invasion of Iraq).

As powerful works of art go, Guernica is incredible, and full of the horrors of war.

2 comments:

Skuds said...

And repeatedly listed as one of the top 10 or top 20 paintings in the world ever.

If I ever go to Mardid I intend to spend a day in the Prado - but would go out of my way to see Guernica too, just to see if all the fuss is justified.

I imagine that a lot of its impact comes from its scale, which can't be represented adequately in a book or on a screen.

Danivon said...

The scale is important to the impact, there is no doubt. But also you can see far more detail as well.

The Prado kind of stops at 1850. If you want anything a bit more recent (but don't like 'modern art', the Thyssen-bthingy over the road from the Prado has a good cross-section (and the aircon is a lot better).