Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Picasso's Guernica



What does the painting depict?


Language used in the painting of Guernica                         

The whole is expressed through its parts

Crucial in the scene is, for instance, the crying woman with child while the bull above her reverses the juxtaposition of Surrealism by letting body and head become parts of both inner and outer space. The rush from the right seems to surge ahead with a candle to see what is going on in reality. However, the foot below seems to indicate that human reality is being stepped on over and again.



The art of Cubism tries to make air become visible: a kind of materialization of the ‘invisible’.

The Guernica painting attempts to make ‘visible’ human pain often not seen. In so doing, Picasso depicts entanglement but also in reflection of Ancient Greece with its centaurs as half men, half horses something about life having become a half truth. Things, animals and people, once no longer let to live, are cut off from the rest of life. Hence everything appears more disjointed and dislocated than merely juxtaposed (the language of the Surrealists)

A naked light bulb

The naked light bulb at the upper centre of the painting requires an interpretation by letting our imagination do the talking. We can enter the painting by creating an imaginary dialogue so that our eyes can follow what we see and express in order to discover more. So what about the central piece of that famous painting:

In the middle of the painting everything merges to disappear underneath a naked light bulb while the head of the horse turns around so as to let our eyes notice the one disjointed arm lying down below.

Very interesting is therefore the replica of the light bulb in the children’s painting.



Style of painting

As to the style Picasso used, that can be best reflected on hand of a poem since that describes the twists and turns, the wondering what mankind is doing with water speaking out loud in the end when all the biting ends.


Poem by Picasso


Give tear out twist and kill I cross light and

Burn caress and lick embrace and look I ring

Full peals from the bells until they bleed

Frighten the pigeons and make them fly all

Around the dovecot until they fall to the

Ground already exhausted I will stop up all

The windows and the doors with earth and

With your hair I will hang all the birds that

Sing and cut all the flowers I will cradle the

Lamb in my arms and give it my breast to

Be devoured I will wash it with my tears of

Pleasure and of pain and send it to sleep

With the song of my loneliness by Soleares

And engrave with acid the fields of wheat

And oats and watch them die lying face up

In the sun I will wrap the flowers in news-

Paper and I will throw them through the

Window into the stream which repents with

All its sins on its back go away content

And laughing in spite of all to make its nest

In the cesspool I will break the music of

Wood against the rocks of the waves of the

Sea I will bite the lion’s cheek will make the

Wolf weeps with tenderness before a portrait of

Water that lets its arm drop into the bath tub.


The art of making out of objects art works

When Picasso had died, Andre Malraux went with Jacqueline to the house where Picasso had last lived. Upon opening the door, many objects were lying in the corridor. Andre Malraux looked down upon them and said: ‘Poor you, now you will never become art works”. Picasso had the genius to take a handle bar of a bicycle and transform it into the horns of a bull.



In view of the Cretan tradition of jumping over the bull and with the mythology of Minotaurus, it is hoped that we with the children manage to grip the horns of war and jump over it to land peacefully on the other side.






The flowing Imagination

“Picasso proceeds like a computer. He touches filled with excitement all possible solutions, which seem conceivable within an imagined form. He draws one line and foresees already others. Going from the tangible objects to the conceptual level and vice versa, he discovers within this richness of variation graphical techniques and structures within the drawings. The ‘completion’ of the form stands in the middle of his work. When repeating this, a new solution to the form is brought about. It all adds up to a cinema like graphic representation of the flow of the imagination.”

                                                                  Werner Spiess, Picasso, 1986, p. 47


Picasso about children and his early art works

While remembering a child can say more than a genius if given pencil and paper, colors and the freedom of expression since it is exciting to see this continuity of creativity reflected in art, Picasso had here quite a different opinion.

“By contrast with music there do not exist in painting any ‘Wunderkinder’. What one takes to be an early maturation sign of genies is in reality the ingenuity of childhood. It disappears at a certain age, without leaving any traces. It is possible that this child shall become one day a painter, even a great painter, but then this child will have to start all over again at the very beginning. I for example never had this genius in me. My first drawings could have never been exhibited in an exhibition of children drawings. Almost all of them were missing this childish-leftist, naïve form of expression…I put very quickly behind me those studies of wonderful visions. In that age of a young boy I drew in a complete academic way, so much concentrated on details and exact, that I am today ashamed about them…”  

Picasso’s early drawings

Already as a child he intimated his father who stopped drawing after seeing what his son can do. However, Picasso said about himself that he was never made any child drawings when still a child, for he drew what he saw: the real thing.   

Picador (1889).  First painting at the age of 8

Against war and torture
the message of Picasso’s Guernica


Aesthetics of Resistance


Hatto Fischer

Presentation at the Kids' Guernica exhibition in Kastelli, Crete 2006


A Different Guernica

John Richardson

May 12, 2016 Issue


Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre

by Xabier Irujo

University of Nevada Press, 311 pp., $44.95




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