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Opposite Day: The Painting Guernica by Spanish Artist Pablo Picasso

Updated on January 30, 2018
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Charmaine is a poet and freelance writer who offers a intuitive tarot reading service. She loves Thai food; new words; and love letters.

The mural of the Painting Guernica by Pablo Picasso.It is called an" inconvenient masterpiece". The tapestry of Guernica at Whitechapel Gallery was returned to the UN in 2015
The mural of the Painting Guernica by Pablo Picasso.It is called an" inconvenient masterpiece". The tapestry of Guernica at Whitechapel Gallery was returned to the UN in 2015 | Source

Opposite Day

I more often than not write poetry.

Today, I am doing its opposite. I am writing about a painting, which involves a material canvas and a palette of paint, not to forget a vision to be splashed across a canvas.

This is about how first-time impressions, or, once naively overlooking something that surprisingly can permeate your consciousness and influence your values and interests without fully realizing until the blessings of hindsight.

Has there ever been a drawing, painting or photo that emotionally impacted you and influenced you in ways you would not have imagined? Please feel free to share at the completion of this article.

Here is both a factual and personal experience of how Pablo Picasso’s painting, Guernica, affected my values and interests.

My First Impression of the Painting Guernica

It was the first day of commencing my first art class in secondary school.

I walked into the Art Room and something quickly caught my attention. I instantaneously looked up. Here was this painting.

Bold. Deep. Something I had never seen before. It hit me powerfully.

It was like someone had just punched me in the stomach. The punch didn’t hurt me. The punch just registered that I had come across something deep and primal.

As my eyes drank in the figures and symbols within the painting Guernica, so did the dismembered figures and the disjointed feelings, reach out to me through its palette of grey, black and white.

There is Also the Bull and the Horse

This composition spoke loudly of flames, a bull and a gored horse.

People were presented with agonized expressions.

Heightened feelings of chaos and violent actions ran rampant throughout the painting.

I was spell bound.

I was rooted to the ground like a She Oak tree. Yet, I was intensely emotionally moved and shocked like a lightning bolt had struck me.

I couldn’t take my eyes away from the painting. I thought to myself, who is this painter? I had no idea.

It was none other than the Spanish Painter Pablo Picasso. The title of the painting was Guernica. That was all I knew and that was enough for me, then.

Pablo Picasso in 1904
Pablo Picasso in 1904 | Source

How Guernica and Pablo Picasso Influenced My Life and Interests.

Fast forward.

Little did I know how that Painting Guernica and the artist Pablo Picasso would act as a catalyst to ensue a love for abstract art and the love of bold colour.

Little did I know that the painting Guernica and the artist Pablo Picasso would lead me to read Carl Jung’s works in my 20’s and have a love of the unconscious and conscious worlds.

I personally wasn’t keen to learn about the facts of the why’s and how’s of Guernica until many years later. What I learnt surprised me. I wouldn’t have made that connection.

The Facts and History About the Painting and Spanish Town of Guernica

Guernica is a large mural completed by the Spanish Artist Pablo Picasso in 1937. It is regarded by many art critics as the most moving and powerful anti-war painting in history.

The painting Guernica was a reply to the bombing of a Basque Country Village (Guernica) in northern Spain by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italian warplanes at the appeal of the Spanish Nationalists.

During the Spanish Civil War, Guernica was seen to be the northern bastion of the Republican resistance movement and the centre of Basque culture, adding to the reason why the country town Guernica became a target.

The Republican forces was an amalgamation of factions that involved socialists, anarchists, communists and other groups. These factions all held different goals to one another but the one thing they had in common was their current opposition to the Nationalists.

The Nationalists sought a return to traditional Catholic values, law and order.

The Symbolism and the Meaning of Guernica

The bull and the horse predominant in the painting Guernica.

The bull and horse are significant animals in Spanish culture. However, Picasso says the bull and the horse have the meaning that only you can attach to them.

The dismembered bodies signals a protest to war.

The colours of grey, black and white create a dark serious feeling.

The flaming buildings express the uselessness of destruction.

The light bulb represents the sun.

The broken sword at the bottom of the painting represents the defeat of the people at the hand of their tormentors.

You can feel the intensity taking a hold of you.

You feel the oppression.

What Photo, Drawing or Painting Has Influenced You?

Have you, too, come across a photo, drawing or painting that has deeply impacted you?

How did it influence you or your life?

Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Peace and Prosperity to You.


Art washes away the dirt form the soul of everyday life

— Pablo Picasso

A photo, drawing or painting has influenced my values or my life interests

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© 2018 Threekeys


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    • threekeys profile image

      Threekeys 3 months ago from Australia

      How fantastic that you actually saw the orginal Guernica, Jo. It is interesting to hear that the painting can still impact one emotionally. Peace to You.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 3 months ago from Tennessee

      I've liked this painting for many years now and finally got to see the original when I visited Spain several years ago. It's a powerful painting.


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