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A route to unveil the mysteries of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

Published: 2017.07.26 - 09:57:28   /  /  Miguel Darío García Porto  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

A route to unveil the mysteries of Pablo Picasso’s GuernicaHow did the painter Pablo Picasso manage to capture the drama of the war in his painting without allusions to the bombing of Guernica or the Spanish Civil War? Is it true that Guernica was a commissioned work? What is the story of this piece? Is the anecdote true that the author while in Paris during World War II met in his study a group of German officials who were very interested in his work and the agents, when seeing the famous painting Guernica, asked him: Did you do it? And Picasso allegedly replied: No ... you did it."

Questions like these can be answered if you attend one of the offerings of "Rutas y Andares 2017. Para descubrir en familia", which in this edition to mark the 80th anniversary of the emblematic Guernica, created by the painter Pablo Picasso, suggests an approach to one of the most famous works of Cubism.

The approach to the piece will come from the Museum for the Interpretation of Cultural Relations between Cuba and Europe, formerly Palacio del Segundo Cabo, an institution that reserves a special route that will research into the social historical context, the work itself and its author, according to the program of the event.

For this meeting that is held every Friday in July and August at 10 am, we will have the support of the Cinemateca de Cuba that will make available to the audience the knowledge of its specialists, and a collection of films related to the topic.

In addition, since August, the Rubén Martínez Villena Public Library Gallery will show an exhibition of posters that reveal the vision of young Cuban artists regarding the work of Pablo Picasso.

Guernica is a famous painting by Pablo Picasso that was painted in the months of May and June 1937, whose title alludes to the bombing of Guernica, which occurred on April 26 of that year, during the Spanish Civil War.

According to the art historians, the work was commissioned by the Director General of Fine Arts, Josep Renau at the request of the Government of the Spanish Republic to be exhibited in the Spanish pavilion during the 1937 International Exhibition in Paris, in order to attract the attention of the public towards the republican cause in the middle of the Spanish Civil War.

In the 1940s, since General Franco's military dictatorship had been established in Spain, Picasso opted to let the painting be guarded by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, although he expressed his will that it be returned to Spain when democracy returned to the country.

In 1981, the work finally arrived in Spain and was shown to the public first in the Cason del Buen Retiro, and then, since 1992, in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, where it is on permanent exhibition.

Its interpretation is controversial, but its artistic value is unquestionable. Not only it is considered to be one of the most important works of the 20th century art, but it has also become a true "icon of the twentieth century", a symbol of the terrible sufferings that war inflicts on human beings.

Guernica is an oil on canvas and despite its title and the circumstances in which it was made, there is no concrete reference to the bombing of Guernica or the Spanish Civil War. It is not, therefore, a narrative picture, but symbolic. It is painted using only black and white, and a varied range of grays.

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