Look closely at this famous painting. How far are the images different from a world we recognise? Think about why the painting depicts the world in this very unusual and dramatic way. Is the painting a ‘realistic’ representation of the world? What type of world is being represented? Why do you think Picasso adopted this style of representation in order to explore an infamous massacre?
1) Now list TEN words that match your feelings about the picture’s message and world.
2) Now look up TEN more words in the dictionary or thesaurus that match the original TEN. Think about ways that these new words alter your original meaning.
3) Now using as many of these words as necessary write a full description of the world represented in the Picasso painting.
4) Think about the iconography. What is the light bulb doing in the picture? Are there any references to bull fighting in the painting? Is the disorder and mayhem everywhere?
5) Whose perspective are we looking from in the painting? Is it childlike? Innocent? Naïve?
6) Is the feeling generated from the painting ambiguous in any way? Are all the images separate from one another or do some images overlay each other? Why? What might this say about interpretation?
7) Now think of a scene you remember. Try to describe the scene in a way which matches the original ‘feeling’ that surrounded the event. Take care to use a vocabulary which ‘fits’ the impact of the memory. The way you represent an ‘event’ is just as important as the details …
A tapestry copy of Picasso’s Guernica is displayed on the wall of the United Nations building in New York City, at the entrance to the Security Council room. It was placed there as a reminder of the horrors of war. Commissioned and donated by Nelson Rockefeller, it is not quite as monochromatic as the original, using several shades of brown. On February 5, 2003, a large blue curtain was placed to cover this work, so that it would not be visible in the background when Colin Powell and John Negroponte gave press conferences at the United Nations. On the following day, it was claimed that the curtain was placed there at the request of television news crews, who had complained that the wild lines and screaming figures made for a bad backdrop, and that a horse’s hindquarters appeared just above the faces of any speakers. Diplomats, however, told journalists that the Bush Administration pressured UN officials to cover the tapestry, rather than have it in the background while Powell or other U.S. diplomats argued for war on Iraq.
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