Notes in Spanish Gold Season 2 – Ep.18 – Guernica

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Ben and Marina discuss Guernica – the fascinating story of Picasso’s involvement in the Spanish civil war, and the birth of his great symbolic painting.

Saludos desde Madrid!

Ben y Marina
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5 thoughts on “Notes in Spanish Gold Season 2 – Ep.18 – Guernica

  1. Raymond Labelle

    Como la han mencionado, a Picasso le gustaba las obras de Goya – quizás también como director honorario del Prado Picasso consideraba las obras del flamenco Bosch como muy preciosas – Bosch, ese increíble surrealista del siglo XVI. Mismo las obras más tradicionales, como las de Velázquez por ejemplo, tienen su interés, no sé para Picasso en particular – pero supongo que el simple hecho de que hayan bombardeado el museo no reflejaba mucho respeto para el arte en general era suficiente para tocar a Picasso.

  2. w8

    Most of what you said about the Guernica incidence has long been refuted by historians There was foreign support on both sides of the war, including air force supply and pilots. The biggest foreign aid was on side of the Republicans by communist volunteers and the Soviet Union. The German Legion Condor was under Spanish high command and not acting arbitrarily on its own. The number of victims at Guernica is now estimated to be between 100-400 while the last estimates are 126. The purpose of the bombing was not to test weapons but to prevent Republican troops from retreating by destroying a bridge that was nearby the city of Guernica. It was a military operation that was a normal measure in that war. There were 5 air raids in a combination of German and Italian planes. The first Italian planes did not hit the city and bombed the area of the bridge. Only one of the later raids hit the city. The destruction of the city was declared to be unintentional by the Germans due to mistakes in aiming. From the Republican side it was declared as an intentional act by the Germans and thousands of victims were assumed as well as shooting from planes on civilians. Those inflated figures and specific details had long been refuted as war propaganda. It had been said that there was a market packed with people being the reason for the high number of victims and that it was a german act of testing weapons. All these were deliberate lies. The painting by Picasso was already begun before the Guernica incidence and the painting was simply to depict war in general. There is nothing specific that refers to Guernica on the picture and it was named Guernica after the incidence occurred. Picasso was heavily involved with the circles on the Republican side. The “official” expressionist movement was a closed circle where only selected artists were promoted and hyped by the media. Actually, they were as much instrumental to the politics of the left as the right had equivalent circles of propagandist artists. Dali for instance was neutral and resisted becoming a mouth piece, consequently he was not hyped by the media as dozens of other similar artists who never became celebrities and insanely high priced as Picasso.

  3. Andrew

    Fascinating guys, thanks. I just recently encountered the word “leve” so it was a nice coincidence to hear it mentioned here again, it seems to be one of those semi-common words that you need to learn but is very easy to overlook since you can go a long time without hearing it.

    And don’t worry about Spanish media focusing on horrible things, media the world over does that. In the U.S. we say with regards to this phenomenon: “If it bleeds, it leads.”


  4. Raymond Labelle

    A ver también las versiones inglesa y francesa de Wikipedia del artículo citado por wb. Hay controversias. Por ejemplo, en la versión inglesa, sobre el cuento de 126 muertos.

    “A recent study by Vicente del Palacio and José Ángel Etxaniz for the Gernikazarra Historia Taldea estimated the number of victims to be 126. Those incomplete data roughly corresponding to the congruous part of the mortuary records of the town that survived owerdays, are not even including the 592 deaths registered in the Bilbao’s hospital. Raul Arias Ramos in his book La Legion Condor en La Guerra Civil states that there were 250 dead; and the study by Joan Villarroya and J.M. Sole i Sabate in their book España en Llamas. La Guerra Civil desde el Aire states that there were 300 dead. These studies (…) provide the currently recognized death toll.”

    “Russian archives, through the historian Sergei Abrossov, mention 800 dead as of May 1, 1937. This is an incomplete figure and does not take into account either the people later found under the rubble, nor those who died later of their injuries, but is certainly objective. It should be recalled that the Soviets were the only ones in the world, at that time, to maintain a strategic air force consisting mainly of heavy bombers Tupolev TB-1, R-6 and TB-3 whose general condition was good but that were becoming obsolete. The whole cost them dearly, especially since their replacement by the Tupolev ANT-42 was planned: the validity of the doctrine of Douhet was therefore constantly discussed in the VVS-RKKA headquarters. Consequently, the interest of Soviet military advisers present in Spain, was the collection of reliable data for internal use and the devastating effects of the bombing “mass” scale, not for controversy. Moreover the adviser Arjenoukhine, being responsible for Northern Front air defence area, had no personal interest in inflating losses at Guernica.”

    También, el tipo de bomba sugeriría una intención de bombardera los civiles. Vale la pena mencionar que Madrid durante la guerra fue seriamente bombardeado.

  5. marina

    Gracias a todos por vuestros comentarios y por ampliar la info.. parece que hay datos muy contradictorios en cuanto a los números…


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