Picasso's War: The Extraordinary Story Of An Artist, An Atrocity - And A Painting That Shook The World

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9780743478632: Picasso's War: The Extraordinary Story Of An Artist, An Atrocity - And A Painting That Shook The World

On 26 April 1937, the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain was bombed by Hitler's Luftwaffe on behalf of Francisco Franco as he waged a bloody civil war. Twenty-four hours later, the village lay in ruins, its population decimated. This act of terror - the first large-scale attack against civilians in modern warfare - outraged the world, and one man in particular. Pablo Picasso, an expatriate living in Paris, responded to the devastation in his homeland by beginning work on GUERNICA, a painting many consider the greatest artwork of the twentieth century. Intermingling themes of politics, art, war and morality, and featuring some of the twentieth century's most memorable and infamous figures, Russell Martin follows this renowned masterpiece across decades and continents. From Europe to America and, finally, back to Spain, PICASSO'S WAR sheds light on the conflict that was an ominous prelude to World War II and delivers an unforgettable portrait of a genius whose visionary statement about the horror and terrible wounds of war still resonates today.

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From the Author:

The story of Guernica is one in which Picasso's masterpiece readily proves that art matters enormously in our individual and collective lives. Far more than decoration, great art of every kind painting, sculpture, literature, music, dance examines, reflects on, and makes sense of events that we otherwise struggle to understand. Art gives us a common language and common perspective with which to grieve and to celebrate, to express outrage and to offer hope.

Guernica has become so important worldwide because it has so perfectly suited its times. It is monumental without being classically "monumental," depicting as it does a vital political event from the microcosmic perspective of its victims rather than from the macrocosm of historical "meaning." Guernica became great, in the view of critic Hilton Kramer, because "a great painter placed his talents at the service of a great political cause, and thus for one splendid moment of history, at least the treacherous gap separating the hermetic concerns of modernist art from the larger and more compelling interests of society was triumphantly bridged." It is that process of bridging the linking of human tragedy to the alchemy of art that is the soul of this story. It is a story that affirms that it is art that best enables us to ennoble our lives, and that only art can meaningfully fuse both doom and beauty.

About the Author:

Russell Martin is the highly acclaimed author of six previous books, including BEETHOVEN'S HAIR, winner of the Colorado Book Award, OUT OF SILENCE, which was named by the BLOOMSBURY REVIEW as one of its fifteen best books and A STORY THAT STANDS LIKE A DAM won the Caroline Bancroft History prize. Martin worked as a newspaper reporter in Colorado before becoming a freelance writer.

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