Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter who helped define art of the 20th century. Although he started off painting in a more realistic style, he soon became known for his large, abstract paintings and sculptures. His style was soon copied the world over.
Guernica is, perhaps, his most important piece. This oil painting is 25 feet long and 11 feet tall. It is mainly black and white and shades of gray.
This painting was made in 1937, following the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Civil War devastated the county and brought fascist leader Francisco Franco to power.
During the Civil War, Hitler helped Franco by sending Nazi bombers into Spain. On April 6, 1937, Nazi warplanes destroyed the Spanish city of Guernica, killing over 1500 people. The bombing lasted for over two hours and foreshadowed the tactics that Hitler would use in World War II.
Pablo Picasso was horrified by this bombing and his painting, Guernica, was the result. This is an anti-war painting and depicts civilians and animals affected by the bombing. In fact the bulls and the horse are important images in Spanish culture.
The ground is littered with bodies and a woman reaches up to the sky, as if begging for mercy.
The painting is considered so important, a copy hangs in the United Nations building in New York City.