The Spanish Civil War was fought between the Socialist Spanish government, International brigades and Soviet "volunteers" vs Spanish "Nationalists", Fascists who received support from Italy, Germany and Portugal. The war was won by the Nationalists, and was followed by a near 30 year dictatorship by Francisco Franco's government. Many atrocities occurred, with executions, purges, and betrayals on both sides. During the war Germany's Condor Legion bombed and strafed a city called Guernica. The Bombing of Guernica (26 April 1937) would have been ignored or lost amongst the horror of war, if not captured by Pablo Picasso in painting. This blog tries to show how art translates life and life is translated by art. This is a case of how the work in question perhaps did not stop the war, or change it directly, but the world opinion definitely changed, from modest interest or awareness, to outrage and horror.
"Before God and before History which must judge us all, I affirm that for three and one-half hours, German planes bombarded with unheard-of fury the defenceless civilian population of the historic city of Gernika, reducing it to ashes, chasing with machine-gun fire women and children who perished in great number, fleeing the stampede of others driven mad by panic." José Antonio Aguirre
"Aguirre is lying. We have respected Guernica, as we respect everything Spanish." Francisco Franco
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“It isn’t up to the painter to define the symbols,” said Pablo Picasso when asked to explain his celebrated mural, Guernica. “….The public who look at the picture must interpret the symbols as they understand them.”