Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guernica (Madrid)

I have a (unwritten) "to-do-if-I-ever-get-the-chance-but-don't-make-a-special-trip-for" list of items that I might like to see one day. Things on this list include places like Teotihuacan near Mexico City and the Taj Mahal. I wouldn't plan a trip to see "just" these places/things but if I'm in the area I'll definitely go. Last Thursday, while in Madrid, I had the chance to cross one of the items off of this list.

Located in the center of Madrid is the Reina Sofia National Art Museum in which is housed the painting Guernica by Picasso. This large painting is Picasso's interpretation of the bombing of the city of Guernica in northern Spain by German and Italian airplanes during the Spanish Civil War. What I like about it is Picasso's focus on the impact of war on innocent civilians. I also have always loved the drawing of the screaming horse...

(Note: you can't take photos in the actual room so these photos were taken from the adjoining rooms.)

While in the room with the painting, you have the opportunity to look at a series of photos that show the work while it was in process. In addition, an adjoining room has a series of studies that Picasso did of the various aspects of the painting. I probably enjoyed viewing these photos and studies as much as the painting itself as you get to see what he was thinking at the start and how he modified it as he went along. For example, the bull in the upper left-hand corner started out as a mostly full-bodied figure but ended up as mostly just head-and-neck.

As for the rest of the museum, hmmm...well, it's an art museum with lots of nice stuff. In other words, I skipped most of the non-Picasso exhibits. If you're into Picasso at all, I'd say it's definitely worth the price of admission to see Guernica and related works.

And, of course, the required "hey, here I am" shot:

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