Guernica by Pablo Picasso

“A painting (1937), perhaps the most famous of the 20th century, painted by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) in 1937 in horrified protest at a notorious atrocity in the Spanish Civil War. On 27 April 1937, bombers of the German Kondor Legion, in support of Franco’s nationalists, destroyed the ancient Basque capital of Guernica, causing many civilian casualties. Picasso’s stark monochromatic painting has become a symbol of the barbarity of modern warfare. There is a (probably apocryphal) story that while Picasso was living in Paris in the Second World War, a Gestapo officer visited his studio. Looking at the canvas of Guernica, the Nazi asked, ‘Did you do that?’ ‘No,’ Picasso replied, ‘you did.'”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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