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A Discussion On The Guernica Painting

A Discussion On The Guernica Painting

Pablo Picasso is a brilliant artist who made several masterpieces during his time. He was so great that even his simple sketches was already considered to be priceless. In this article, we are going to discuss all about the Guernica painting that Picasso made for his anti-war efforts. This article is created to know what is the inspiration of Picasso for making that painting and try to dissect the content at the same time to further understand it.

Overview Of The Guernica Masterpiece:

The Guernica painting is a mural which depicts bombing at Guernica by the Nazi forces at the height of the Civil War in 1937. This painting shows the tragedies and the suffering as a result of war. Picasso used his artistic genius to make a powerful political statement against the rages of war. This painting became a symbol of peace soon after.

The Guernica masterpiece is shown with the following details:

– A bull standing behind a woman while she is carrying deceased child in her arms.

– A horse falling to the ground, dying as a spear is lodged into its back.

– A deceased military man lying under the horse. His hand was cut off from his body, but still continues to reach a broken sword where a flower blooms.

– A light bulb right above the horse which was shining very bright. It was shown as if it was the “Evil Eye” (The Spanish term for the light bulb is “Bombilla” which sounds like a Bomb).

– A female figure hovering and carrying a lamp (symbolizing hope).

– An awe-struck woman below the floating woman. She is looking clueless at the light bulb.

– Daggers that suggested the wailing of the people. Daggers replaced the bull, the dying horse, and the lamenting woman’s tongues.

– A bird (could be a dove) standing beside the bull, showing signs of panic.

– A man trapped in flames and his hands are raised in terror.

– A dark wall with a door left open confined at the rightmost part of the mural.

How The Mural Is Interpreted:

The interpretation of the Guernica painting varies widely and the ideas greatly opposed. One example of which pertains to the 2 dominant figures in the painting: the horse and the bull. The interpretation of the exact meaning of the horse and the bull difficult to decipher because their representation varies depending on the period.

Some detractors of Picasso warned about trusting the political message brought about by the mural. The rampaging bull, for instance, could represent a motif of destruction or it could also be Picasso’s ego. However, the bull could also represent the onslaught of Facism. Picasso cleared all this by giving his answers to symbolism of the animals. According to him, the bull represents darkness and brutality as the cause of war. On the other hand, the horse represents the inhabitants of Guernica who have greatly suffered after the bombing incident.


Soon after, the painting was travelled to many countries so that other could also see Picasso’s anti-war message. It was later returned in 1981 to Spain where it now hangs at Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.