Pablo Picasso, during the Spanish Civil War, painted the picture that you see here as a response to the Italian and German planes bombing the little Basque town of Guernica. Although the attack was a very minuscule attack, it blew up with popularity with this photo.
And recently I saw this video of the art critic Jerry Saltz talking to people about it in the New York underground. Okay cool concept, but it’s total propaganda. Literally.
The painting was only commissioned by the republican/left wing side of the Spanish civil war in response to one of their controlled towns being bombed so they could have propaganda to spread.
It was commissioned by the Spanish Republican Government to be shown in the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris for the reason of trying to convince people to join their cause and as a propaganda tool. And obviously, it worked.
Now, we have a whole bunch of people who are going to see this painting and nothing of the evils of the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War. Like the burning down of churches, killing of priests etc. All they’ll know is a small event in the civil war blown up to be a big evil thing that the Nationalist side committed.
Which is fine, and understandable from the viewpoint of the republicans. That’s exactly what they want. But from a historical standpoint it’s a gross misrepresentation of what happened.