JPG of Pablo Picasso’s massive painting Guernica. [Source: Wikipedia, accessed August 23, 2010].
I just finished reading Picasso’s War: The Destruction of Guernica, and the Masterpiece that Changed the World, by Russell Martin (2002). Russell Martin is a fine storyteller. Recommended.
I found Martin’s account of the destruction of Guernica on April 26, 1937 by elements of the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany – ally of the fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco – to be horrifying. It was the first city to be destroyed from the air, and in some ways served as a rehearsal for “total war” and blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) as practiced by Nazi Germany during World War II.
Martin’s account of the return of democracy to Spain after the nightmare years of the Civil War and Franco’s rule is especially moving.
Picasso’s response to the destruction of Guernica was immediate. Martin discusses how Picasso created his masterpiece Guernica during approximately a month-long period (May 1 to June 4, 1937) in Paris, France – in which he worked on little else.
Finally, Martin’s account of Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica finally being brought to Spain and taking up residence in Spain after decades is profoundly moving.
Martin was in Spain to view Guernica when the attacks of 9/11 occurred.
Guernica is the painting of the 20th century: an anguished cry of horror at the senseless killing of civilians without warning and at the senselessness of war itself. It is a powerful indictment of war.
“I stand for life against death. I stand for peace against war.” ~ Pablo Picasso (1881 t0 1973)
With his masterpiece Guernica, Picasso gave the people of Spain and the world an eloquent, powerful statement for life and peace.
[Source: Martin, Picasso’s War, page 269].
I feel like I always learn something new when I read your blog. Thanks for sharing.
Carolyn, thank you – you are so kind.