Guernica - AP English Language and Composition

By: Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
• Born on October 25, 1881 in
Malaga, Spain
• Invented Cubanism
• Became one of the most
influential and greatest
artists in the 20th century
• He was 91 when he died in
1973 in France
Background of Guernica
• The painting is based on the bombing of the
city of Guernica in Spain during the Spanish
Civil War.
• 1,685 people died
• Picasso painted Guernica as a reaction to the
• Completed mid-June 1937
• 11.5 ft. tall and 25.6 ft. wide, a mural-size
canvas painted in oil.
• It is an example of Cubism and Surrealism.
The light bulb
would symbolize
the bomb.
in the
hand of
a dead
Colors: Picasso only used black, grey,
and white to portray the sorrowful
atmosphere and convey suffering and
The newspaper is how Picasso
found out about the bombing.
Interpretation Cont.
• Guernica shows the cataclysms of war as well
as the anguish and destruction it inflicts upon
people, especially innocent civilians.
• With Guernica, Picasso wanted to establish his
identity and his strength as an artist when
confronted with political authority and
intolerable violence.
Locations of Guernica
• Guernica was initially exhibited in July 1937 at
the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International
• Given to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)
• Between 1939 and 1952, the painting traveled
extensively in the United States; between
1953 and 1956 it was shown in Brazil
• In 1992 it was given up to the Spanish and put
in the Museo Reina Sofia
Lasting Impact
• This painting has attained an enormous
reputation over the years, and has become an
everlasting reminder of the devastation of
war, in addition to becoming an anti-war icon.