The meaning of Guernica explained in a subway

Dec 30, 2018 | Culture, News

By George Le Masurier

What do a gored bull, a horse and flames have in common? No, this is not a three-people-walk-into-a-bar kind of joke. The answer, of course, is they are all prominent images in Pablo Picasso’s most famous painting (Decafnation’s opinion).

But what does it mean? Have you ever wondered about the symbolism in the painting? Is it really an anti-war message?

A New Yorker magazine art critic took a copy down into the Big Apple’s subway tunnels and asked people what they thought. It’s an interesting video.



The bombing of Guernica (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡeɾˈnika]) (26 April 1937) was an aerial bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It was carried out, at the behest of Francisco Franco’s nationalist government, by its allies, the Nazi German Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria, under the code name Operation Rügen. 

The bombing is the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso, commissioned by the Spanish Republic.

— Wikipedia



Pablo Picasso was the most dominant and influential artist of the first half of the 20th century. Associated most of all with pioneering Cubism, alongside Georges Braque, he also invented collage and made major contributions to Symbolism and Surrealism. He saw himself above all as a painter, yet his sculpture was greatly influential, and he also explored areas as diverse as printmaking and ceramics.

Finally, he was a famously charismatic personality; his many relationships with women not only filtered into his art but also may have directed its course, and his behavior has come to embody that of the bohemian modern artist in the popular imagination.

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