Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofía opens “Pity and Terror. Picasso’s Path to Guernica” to the public from April 5 to September 4 this year, celebrating the first public showing of Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece for the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 Paris World Fair.
The major exhibition will bring together some 150 of Picasso’s works from the Reina Sofía’s own collection as well as more than 30 institutions around the world, including the Musée Picasso, Pompidou, Tate Modern, MoMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Beyeler Foundation, as well as private collections.
Unlike other retrospectives on the art of the Málaga-born master, this particular exhibition places the emphasis on the evolution of Picasso’s pictorial universe. The display analyses the transformation in Picasso’s art from the initial optimism of Cubism to his search in the 1930s for a new representation of a world which was lurching between beauty and monstrosity. Guernica is thus treated not as an isolated work but rather as part of a narrative and evolution within Picasso’s art.
This 80th Anniversary of the bombing of Guernica will also be marked with an intensive research project carried out by the Collections Department. The “Guernica Documentary Archive” compiles historic documentation which exhaustively traces the story of the painting Guernica. It also covers the creation of the work itself as well as its subsequent journey around England, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium and finally to the United States and MoMa where it stayed until the 1980s.
It is hard to underestimate the importance of the historical event, the bombing of Guernica. It is also hard to underestimate the importance of the artwork to Span. The painting stands as a powerful reminder of the horrors of the civicl war, its return to the country also marked the end of Franco’s dictatorship and the emergence of modern Spain.
Thomas, who used to guide in Spain and lead groups to the Reina Sofia weekly, shares a few insights of what he learned about the war and the painting over the years in our Spain Expert Guide. Even though Picasso did not like to discuss the meaning of his art, you might like to signup to get Thomas’ recap and interpretation of the symbolism in Picasso’s Guernica, before you head to the exhibition.