Critical Analysis - Picasso's Guernica Essay

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Pages: 7

Critical Analysis of Guernica - By Bryce Craig

Spanish artist Pablo Picasso can often be collectively seen as the greatest and most influential artist of the twentieth century. In a historical sense he encompassed all that is to be a practicing modernist artist and prevailed as one of the most significant artists overall in human history. Picasso’s most well renowned painting presents to his audience a graphic reflection of the horrors and brutality of war; Guernica (1937) depicts the Spanish town of the same name being torn apart by the explosive fury that was the German air raid on the innocent and unaware village during the Spanish Civil War. The painting is currently housed in the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid yet also has a reputable
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The overriding fact is that Guernica is a response to the actual bombing of the small Spanish town. Post World War One Spain was in a period of great reform and shifting social practices, thus it was only predictable that conflict would arise between the revolutionary republicans and the nationalist political parties of the nation. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 both sides acquired desirable allies, the nationalists led by infamous General Franco however obtained the fortunate cooperation of the German and Italian air force and as a demonstration of their power over the republicans and any who opposed them, they made a dramatic statement which is now known as the Bombing of Guernica. Adolf Hitler and his military officers saw this as a lucrative opportunity to test their air force for the imminent World War ahead of them and thus the Spanish Civil War is often referred to as the dress rehearsal for World War Two and Guernica was the Climax.
When observing the structural orientation of Guernica significant features of composition, symbolism and metaphoric association can be found. The subject matter is diverse yet all correlates to the context of the wartime attack, from the screaming mother holding her dead child in her arms to a minotaur-bull hybrid. The images composition shares qualities of collage style works due its seemingly chaotic, merged and