Nicholas Rankin

Art of War

Guernica: Painting the End of the World

By

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Guernica is the world’s best-known work of art based on an act of war. It was painted in Paris eighty years ago by Pablo Picasso following an atrocity in the Spanish Civil War. On 26 April 1937, some fifty aircraft from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, in support of General Franco’s military rebels, fire-bombed and strafed the small market town of Gernika in the Basque Country, killing hundreds of civilians. The controversial canvas was first exhibited in the Spanish Republic’s pavilion at the Paris Exposition Internationale in the summer of 1937, and its endlessly reproduced images of suffering and death have been part of human consciousness ever since.

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