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Painting the War

As World War II raged on throughout the globe in the 1930s and 40s, the artists found themselves in the most difficult conditions, thus compelling them to create exceptional pieces as an expression of self preservation. Here are a few of the many who left a profound impact with their work:

1. Guernica - Pablo Picasso (1937)

Guernica is considered as one of Picasso’s most famous pieces, bringing out a powerful political statement in reaction to the Nazi’s casual bombing practice on the town of Basque in Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Spain being his birthplace, he was driven by his sense of patriotism and justice to paint this masterpiece which symbolises the tragedies of war and how it inflicts suffering upon individuals, especially innocent civilians.

In his piece, Picasso made sure to use the shades of grey, white and blue-black to express the bleakness as an aftermath of the bombing and it is also said that he specially ordered house paint that had the minimum amount of gloss to create more impact.

There is a wide range of interpretations of this painting which often contradict each other. The focus mostly revolves around the depiction of the horse and the bull by Picasso. According to art historian Patricia Failing:

“The bull and the horse are important characters in Spanish culture . Picasso himself certainly used these characters to play many different roles over time. This has made the task of interpreting the specific meaning of the bull and the horse very tough. Their relationship is a