Thoughts about Guernica – Around the World Day 10

Today was the only day that I would travel east, and I only did that so I could make it to Madrid’s airport in the morning to continue traveling west. So I had a one night stay in this town, and there was only one thing that I could do while in this town, and that was to visit the Reina Sofia Museum to see Spain’s greatest painting, Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. I would show you a picture of it but they would not allow me to take a picture of it, and it is heavily copyrighted. With that in mind, if you have never seen it, just google the image and you will see a million copies of it, so I am sure that I could show it on my website because I do not have enough visitors for somebody to care, but knowing my luck, they would come after me full force.

Even if you do not know what this painting is, I guarantee when you see it, you will be like, oh yeah, I’ve seen that one, and then you will wonder why somebody would want to talk about it. Because, even though I have seen pictures of it a million times, it is different when you see it live. It hits you hard, and makes you wonder why you haven’t felt the same way when you see a picture of it. It might be the fact that you can see the paint strokes up close which adds to the power of the image, or it might be because it is twelve and half feet tall and twenty-five feet long. But when I saw it live, a rush of emotions came over me.

Picasso painted it response to the Spanish Civil War and the fact that Franco allowed Hitler to test out his bombers by leveling the town of Guernica. It depicts that madness of war as it shows a woman with a broken leg trying to crawl away from the destruction, a man who has been thrown from his horse and has a severed arm still clutching a broken sword blade, a woman screaming to heaven as she clutches her dying child, and a bull, a representation of Spain as it looks on in horror and disbelief, wondering how it could ever comprehend the pain that it had witnessed. It is all painted in black and white to show the image as it would be seen in the newspapers of that time. It is a powerful reflection of that horrible time in history.

The crazy thing is that it still had power behind it today. You do not need to think of it tied to the terrible leader of Spain, Franco. It is applicable to any world leader that allows destruction to take place within the borders of the place they have sworn to protect, and then ignore that pain and suffering because they are safe in their comfortable home eating a slice of the best chocolate cake they have ever had. Picasso gave a human face to the horrors of war, and what the madness would be like if you were down there among the pain and suffering. Some leaders do not want to see this so they chose to ignore it because it does not fit into the ideology that they wish to practice. Human beings are still human beings, and nobody should be held on too high of a pedestal to forget that. They should forced to witness that sense of confusion and despair no matter what level it arrives within their area of influence.

Now many people would associate this with war, but that is not always true. There is pain and suffering that is happening because of the decisions made by the world leaders that is reflected in the eyes within that masterpiece. It could be from a natural disaster that gets ignored because the people who have endured it do not necessarily concern the person who is supposed to help them. It could be a group of people who do not have the natural resources they need in order to survive because a larger corporation can make money by destroying those common needs. It could be people who are looking for help in order to avoid the destruction that is happening in a different community, but are getting ignored because it might mean losing face with a group of people who do not care about those in need.

These were the thoughts that ran through my head while I looked upon this painting. It shows the power behind it if someone can still be affected by its true intentions long after its intended audience has left this earth. It is the reason that art is important. If you have ever been moved by a painting, or a sculpture, or a story, you will know what I am talking about. And it might not happen every time that you appreciate one of these pieces, but the reason I keep on searching out for them is because it is profound when they actually hit me in this way. I hope someday that my art might be appreciated in the same way.

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