The Nazi bombing of the city of the freedom-loving Basques in April 1937 sparked worldwide protest. This protest mood of the world community was clearly expressed by Pablo Picasso in the astonishing painting “Guernica”. Violence and grief, suffering and agony ring in her like strings of torn nerves. From this canvas, a tragic feeling of destruction, death, devastation, apocalypse flows into the soul of the stricken viewer. In the picture there is no image of the city and falling bombs, only flames.
Transferred images are simplified to the limit. The viewer gets the feeling that he was in an eerie basement.
The woman and the man, who face the viewer, have their mouths wide open, distorted by pain, they scream. The openings of the nostrils and eyes are shifted above the forehead. Other figures that in the right area of the canvas, seized with panic terror, try to run away from the burning building. A woman falls from the window of a burning house. Near a man who raised his hands up, Pablo Picasso depicted the outlines of two human faces. They are anxious, tense, but filled with determination.
The weeping mother becomes a bright figure on the left side of the canvas. The woman’s head is thrown back, in her hands is a dead baby. This is the personification of the grief of all mothers who have lost their children. And next to it is the image of a bull, symbolizing indifference, toughness. In other words, everything that embodies fascism. An animal tramples a slain warrior resembling a crucifix. A broken sword is in the severed hand of a dead soldier. This character is a symbol of physical suffering. Here, the image of a horse is also the suffering of the innocent; it convulses.
The woman, whose profile resembles an ancient goddess, firmly holds the burning lamp in her outstretched hand. The pupil is replaced by a light bulb. She chokes with a cry, as evidenced by a wide-open mouth, but there is no one else to listen to her. And an incandescent lamp is burning over this world, consumed by chaos.
Death and destruction are everywhere. Pain, anger and the need for retribution can be seen in every corner of Guernica. The characteristic lines enhance the sensations: they are round and thin, then they suddenly become refractive, sharp. They reflect the human psyche, mired in suffering and horror.
Year of painting: 1937.
The size of the painting: 349 × 776 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: symbolic painting.
Gallery: Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, Spain.