picasso guernica vs michelangelo pieta
However, in “Guernica”, the beasts are really conceived of as generous companions of Man who share his same fate.
Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937.
Pablo Picasso is known as one of the most famous artists of the 20 th century. Also, he is credited with co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of sculpture, the co-invention of collage as well as many other wide varieties of style that he explored. Picasso was born to a middle-class family in Spain. He was baptized as a Catholic, but later became an Atheist. Picasso took after his father, who was also a painter. Except, his father specialized in naturalistic depictions of the environment. Picasso went on and learned most of his skills from his father. However, in 1895, his sister died which traumatized him. Ultimately causing him to move away from his family. In 1937, Picasso made one of his most famous paintings, Guernica. This piece reflects the civil war going on between Spanish Republicans and the Fascist army of General Franco. Guernica combined both Analytic and Synthetic Cubist forms with several traditional motifs, which he juxtaposed in a Surrealist way. The combination of forms serves as the political message of the painting—Picasso’s protest against the brutality of war and tyranny. The absence of color enhances the journalistic quality of the painting relating it to the news accounts of the bombing. Guernica is divided into three sections, recalling the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. There is a dying horse that represents the death of civilization, though a woman may rescue it with a lamp (Liberty) rushing toward it. The lamp represents hope. On the right side of the picture, the pose of the woman suggests Christ’s Crucifixion. On the Left, a woman holds a dead baby on her lap in a pose reminiscent of Mary supporting the dead Christ in Michelangelo’s Pietà. These disparate motifs are related by form and gesture, by their shared distortions and by the power of their message. Cubist geometric shapes and sharp angles pervade the painting.
BBC News. Piecing together Guernica. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7986540.stm. Accessed 1 Jun. 2017.
The dichotomy of life and death is revealed in the image of the inconsolable mother and lifeless child. Reference to this image is akin to Michelangelo’s Pieta; additionally, the image of Mother and Child is a staple used in the media to convey the effects of war. (BBC News) Notice the positioning between the bull and other characters; the grieving mother and the two other women facing the bull in distress, the mortally wounded horse, and the dying solider. They, alone, give cause for their own life and death story.
“No,” Picasso replied. “You did.”
A Nazi officer, upon seeing an image of the iconic painting (supposedly) asked “Did you do that?”
In 1918, Olga and Picasso got married. The young couple moved to an apartment that occupied two floors at 23 Rue La Boétie, acquired servants, a chauffeur, and began to move in different social circles, no doubt due to Olga’s influence. The chaotic get-togethers Picasso had with his artist friends gradually changed into formal receptions. Picasso’s image of himself changed as well, and this was reflected in the more conventional style he adopted in his art and the way in which he consciously made use of artistic traditions and ceased to be provocative.
In the period following the upheaval of World War I, Picasso produced work in a neoclassical style. In February 1917, Picasso made his first trip to Italy. He saw the celebrated collections of antique sculpture in the Vatican and the archaeological museum in Naples, and he looked at a lot of Roman painting and mosaics in Pompeii, Herculaneum and also in the Naples museum. He saw a great deal of Renaissance art both in Florence and Rome, the Primitives as well as Raphael and Michelangelo. In St Peter’s he would have seen not only Michelangelo’s Pieta but numerous sculptures by Bernini, and he must have looked at Bernini’s extraordinary obelisk-bearing elephant and Michelangelo’s Risen Christ in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva because these were on the doorstep of the Minerva Hotel where Ansermet, Olga and the other dancers were lodging. The memory of Bernini’s Roman fountains surfaced later in various set designs. Meanwhile his later damning references to Caravaggio – ‘your enemy’, Kahnweiler called him – suggest that he also spent time looking at the Caravaggio in Rome. All this ‘high’ culture was leavened by Roman and Neapolitan popular art in debased forms of the Rococo, Romantic and Realist styles. Moreover, Picasso was seeing all this in the company of writers, composers and artists – the kind of company in which he always thrived and which always stimulated him.