Pablo Picasso is well known for colorful abstract paintings. His unique talent of creating a painting that may not look like real life, but has a deeper meaning, has been copied my many other modern painters. Picasso had many different styles of paintings during his life. Art historians have separated his life into different periods. The periods include: The blue period, the rose period, cubism, and late works. The blue and rose periods were similar, because Picasso used certain colors in his paintings. The blue period was filled with deep blue paintings that didn?t have the look that Picasso?s later works had. One work that Picasso did during his blue period was ?Self Portrait? (1901). This self-portrait of Picasso has a dark gloomy quality to it. The deep blues give it a lonely, and gloomy feeling. Picasso?s use if color helps set a certain mood for the painting. Picasso?s rose period was filled with red paintings. All of Picasso?s paintings during the rose period had a similar look and color, however none of his paintings had the traditional Picasso look we think of today.
Now days when we think Pablo Picasso we think of cubism. Cubism emphasizes the flat, two-dimensional surface of the picture plane. In cubism you reject the traditional ideas of perspectives, foreshortening, and modeling. When an artist chooses to paint in the cubist style he isn?t going for a natural look. Cubist paintings are depicted by fragmented objects, rather than natural looking objects.
When Pablo Picasso painted he chose subjects that a viewer need to look closely at to find the meaning. He also chose subjects that would tug at the viewer?s hearts. One such paining was ?Guernica?. The painting ?Guernica? was inspired by a town named Guernica that was bombed by fascists in 1937. Picasso was given the money by the republican government for the Spanish pavilion at the 1937 worlds fair. The painting that measures 11.5 X 25.5 feet took just over three weeks to complete.
There are many items that make ?Guernica? different from Picasso?s other paintings. One the size of ?Guernica? is 11.5 X 25.5 feet. Paintings of this size aren?t too common especially by Picasso. Another aspect of ?Guernica? that sets it aside from other paintings is its lack of color. The entire mural is done in blacks, whites, and grays. This is a drastic transition for Picasso. In ?Guernica? Picasso doesn?t use a color like red or blue to create the mood in the painting, in stead Picasso uses the lack of color to create a gloomy, depressing mood.
?Guernica? is filled with strong images that create a tragic and depressing feeling. There are six people in the painting. All six of these people have horrible, dying looks on their faces. When you look into the eyes of these people you see the pain and torture that they had to deal with during the Spanish Civil War. Lying across the bottom of the image is a dying bald figure. He lies there dying with an empty look on his face. Picasso points the eyes on him directly at the viewer. This gives you a connection to this dying man. Other figures in the painting include images of women. The women are all screaming out in pain. You connect with these women as you look into there eyes. They all have a look of confusion and anger. On the left of the painting you find a woman holding her baby. The baby?s head is tilted back and his eyes are missing. The mother is crying out in pain over the loss of her child. Her eyes are pointed towards heaven and her mouth is open. The mother looks as if she is asking god ?why must this happen.?
Above of the woman is a bull. The bull is an important figure in Spanish culture. The Spanish are well known for bulls and their sport of bull fighting. The bull has an angry look on his face, and he seems to be the aggressor. Picasso uses the image of the bull to symbolize the fascists. Other animal symbols appear in ?Guernica.? A horse is struggling in pain to the right of the bull. The horse looks scared just like the people do. The horse is quickly turning around, because of all the chaos around him. He is stomping on the bald figure and accidentally crushing him. A baby bird is in between the horse and the bull. The bird has its mouth open up waiting for his missing mother to feed him.
There are two types of light in the painting. In the middle of the painting there is a hanging lamp from the ceiling. The light bulb is very prominent and symbolizes the idea of hope. Next to that lamp is a candle being held by a woman. It looks as if the candle is scaring the horse, because the horse is turning away from the candle.
The setting for this painting is the town of Guernica. The buildings in the town are destroyed or being destroyed. One building on the left looks to be swallowing a person while it is on fire. Picasso uses very dramatic images to set this mood of tragedy. The people in ?Guernica? aren?t helpless. The people are trying to fight, but the bull and horse are too strong for them.
Picasso?s life included many works with many different themes and styles. As Picasso grew so did his style of painting. Picasso paints paintings that look easy to do. He draws easy shapes and doesn?t use shadows or shading. Picasso however has the skill to find symbols to represent his ideas. In a Pablo Picasso painting the viewer needs to look deeply at the painting so that he can find the inner meaning. ?Guernica? is a painting with many hidden meanings. The painting is gloomy and dark so that the viewer will connect with these suffering people. If ?Guernica? were colorful then you wouldn?t feel the sympathy that you feel sorry for the citizens of Guernica. The painting isn?t a factual representation of the war. The painting however is an emotional representation of the Spanish civil war, or of the horrors of war in general.