Guernica

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Dr. Reza Kibria ::

Editor’s Choice: A Selection of Important Works of Art

This section introduces readers to a selection of great works of art, primarily paintings of the Western World. The works chosen include some personal favourites, others which are well-known or influential in some way and yet others representative of a particular school of art. The impact of a work of art is of course many times greater when the original is seen. If possible readers should try to visit the galleries and museums housing these priceless treasures

“Guernica”, Pablo Picasso, 1937, oil on canvas, 349x776, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a prolific Spanish artist whose paintings and sketches cover several formative periods in modern art, his style often changing dramatically as he experimented with new techniques and ideas. Guernica shows the suffering of the people of the city of Guernica which was bombed by the Germans in support of the Fascist forces in Spain. The painting brought international attention to the suffering caused by the Spanish Civil War and became a universally-recognized symbol against war and genocide. In 2003 a copy of this work at the United Nations was covered up with a curtain while United States officials argued for a war on Iraq. Clearly this potent symbol of wartime suffering would have been an inconvenient backdrop to a call for war.