Re-Creating Pablo Picasso's Guernica
Daseler, Jack C., Arts & Activities
Recently, the teachers at my school ,completed a group project with our eighth-graders in which we recreated the famous painting by Pablo Picasso, Guernica.
The original painting was created for the Spanish Pavilion of the 1937 World's Fair in Paris as a protest of the Nazi bombing of a small Basque town in northern Spain.
The Germans, at the request of the Spanish General Fancisco Franco, bombed Guernica for three hours and destroyed 75 percent of the city, killing and wounding over 1,600 women, children and men who were not directly involved in the Spanish Civil War.
The town was the cultural center for the Basque people, and Franco felt that by destroying the town, he could destroy the will of the Basques who supported the opposition to Franco's rule.
The event provoked protests from nations around the world and drew attention to the death and destruction of the war in Spain. Picasso, who was not politically inclined, decided this horrendous event needed to be documented on canvas for the world to see. He started the painting days after the bombing and worked and reworked the painting for the next few months, placing the finished painting in the Spanish Pavilion at the World's Fair.
The painting traveled the world for several years, finally ending up at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was returned to Spain in 1981, after Franco's death and the restoration of democracy to Spain. (A replica tapestry of Guernica hangs outside the Security Council chamber of United Nations Headquarters in New York City.)
OUR WORK BEGINS To re-create the painting to its original size, I took two posters of Guernica and cut one into 2" x 2" squares. I placed a corresponding number on the back of the pieces to keep track of the position and reference of each piece to the original painting.
We then placed a plastic grid over the second whole reproduction of the painting, and created a 6" x 6" grid on a 2' x 2' piece of construction paper in order to transfer the drawing to the larger piece of paper.
The students used graphite pencils and graphite sticks to color the image onto the larger paper. On the few spots where there was some color, they used colored pencils. Once a few pieces were finished, we laminated them and attached them to the wall of our cafeteria, where I had previously mapped out where the pieces would be placed. …