Pablo Picasso is arguable one of the most talented and influential artists of the 20th century. He is certainly one of the most famous and successful. The name Picasso has become synonymous with artistic greatness, but the reality is not always quite as great as the myth. For all of his undeniable skill and talent, Pablo Picasso was a deeply flawed human being. His legacy is tarnished to some extent by his terrible treatment of women and his own family. I was hesitant to do an episode on Picasso for a long time because I generally want this podcast to have a positive tone and focus primarily on the better aspects of art. I tried to cover a bit of his artistic legacy and brilliance while acknowledging but not getting overly bogged down in the depressing details of his personal shortcomings.
For this episode we focused on Guernica from 1937. It was Picasso's massive painting created as a response to the horrific violence of the bombing of the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The German Nazis and Italian fascists were involved in the Spanish Civil War and Picasso painted Guernica at the request of Spanish Nationalists. He exhibited the painting at the Paris International Exhibition at the Spanish Pavilion. Nazi Germany had a huge pavilion at the same exhibition which had to make things a little awkward. Guernica was exhibited in other venues throughout the world to raise money for Spanish war relief and to convey his antiwar/anti violence political stance.