The eventful story of the most iconic work by Spain’s most famous 20th century artist arrives in Arrecife.
Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is perhaps the most famous anti-war artwork of the 20th century; a stark cry of horror against a massacre that ushered in even greater horrors of civilian bombing during World War II and after.
Picasso painted Guernica in 1937, shortly after bombers from the German Condor Legion and Italy’s Aviation Legion had carpet-bombed the quiet Basque market town of Gernika on 26th April, killing between 100 and 300 people ands destroying 70% of the town’s buildings.
While this was not the first use of Blitzkrieg tactics in the Spanish Civil War, it became the most famous, and it was this international outcry that prompted Picasso – then living in Paris- to create the huge black-and-white canvas for the 1937 Worlds Fair.
The painting was exhibited around the world and kept in New York’s Museum of Modern Art , but it did not come to Spain until 1981, after the death of General Franco and the establishment of democracy. It currently occupies a specially-built pavilion in the Reina Sofia Modern Art Gallery in Madrid.
The Reina Sofia Museum and the La Caixa Foundation are behind the travelling exhibition which will be open in the Parque José Ramírez Cerdá on Arrecife’s seafront until 11th May. The title of the exhibition is “The Journey of Guernica” and it covers the long and chequered history of one of Spain’s most famous paintings, from its creation to its arrival in Spain and its adoption as one the most widely recognised anti-war images of the 20th century.
The exhibition takes place in two large trailers which willñ be travelling around Spain, although this is the only scheduled stop in the Canaries. It features photos – including several of Picasso working on the painting taken by his lover Dora Maar – as well as videos, contemporary posters and documents, and there will be daily guided tours in Spanish.
It is open from 12.30 to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm on weekdays and from 11 am at weekends.
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