Pablo Picasso’s Politically Charged Guernica Painting

Pablo-Picasso-Guernica

On April 26, 1937, Guernica, Spain was severely bombed due to civil conflict brought on by World War II. The Basque town of Guernica was openly hostile towards General Francisco Franco’s ideologies, and because of this, Franco unleashed a 3.5 hour bombing raid upon this defenseless city, with help from German allies. In total, 1650 people were killed, 900 injured, and most of the township was destroyed, an event which sparked international outrage. Pablo Picasso created a piece of artwork as sentiment towards anti-war and anti-violence entitled “Guernica”. Picasso understood that artwork and politics rarely go together hand in hand and so he created not a piece of aircraft and bombs but rather of horses and swords, as he was determined not to create artwork which could be used as propaganda in the future. The bull depicted within the painting is designed to represent Franco and his military powers and the suffering horses and weeping woman symbolize the people of Spain. Picasso’s Guernica work became a timeless masterpiece and a copy of it is on display at the United Nations world headquarters in New York City, United States of America. The Guernica painting was covered briefly with a veil during 2003 when U.S. General Colin Powell announced the United States’ decision to invade Iraq. The Guernica image was seen as incendiary commentary and therefore intolerable during this chaotic period. The Guernica painting has become a symbol of protest to violence, war, and military regimes, not just for every country in the world, but of the 20th century and beyond

Ancient Egyptian Influence Upon Europe

Washington-Monument

Prior to the development of the methods and tools used for scientific analysis, many Europeans regarded Egypt as the birthplace of civilization. This meant that Napoléon Bonaparte was free to invade Egypt because the French people viewed his campaigns as a way of leading themselves back to the source of their roots. Bonaparte did not only bring soldiers, he also brought scholars who would observe and record the knowledge gained while in Egypt. This acquisition of knowledge made information about Egypt available to the public through books filled with illustrations and writing about Egyptian culture, its people, and its landmarks. Elements of ancient Egypt started to work their way into European culture and even reach out west as far as the new colonies of the United States of America, with examples like the pyramid on the back of U.S. currency and the obelisk Washington Monument in Washington D.C.. Bonaparte’s campaign was the most significant European foray into the Islamic world since the Crusades

The Ancient Battle of Troy 

Trojan-War

The battle of Troy is suspected to have occurred in modern day Turkey as Troy is considered is by archeologists and scholars to have been a real citadel, and not just an epic iliad of the ancient Greek poet Homer. The Trojan economy was based upon trade, specifically horses and horse breeding which allowed for wealth and military prowess within the walls of Troy, as horses were rarely seen elsewhere in the ancient world. Troy had a large ditch cut around the entire city, similar to a moat but without water. Large fences were placed behind this trench and enormous city walls were erected with only 3 entry points for the entire stronghold. Food stockpiles allowed the Trojans to hold out for longer periods than what would typically have been possible and amphorae were buried all over the Troy, up to the neck of the container, with a rock placed on top to seal it off. The Trojans, as was custom with most ancient people, would not bury their dead within the perimeter of the city unless under significant stress. Militarily speaking, in order to seize a target by assault, a soldier ratio of 3:1 is required but the Greeks did not have this advantage because the Trojan’s and Greek’s were matched evenly in terms of troops. This lack of superiority on either side permitted the Trojan war to last 9 years. The Trojans built their outer walls on a 20 degree slant to protect themselves from siege towers which were essentially mobile ladders with platforms to shoot down from. Troy’s exterior stone walls were 6 meters high with an additional height of 4 meters being added by mud-brick structures which crowned the walls. The Trojan Horse which invaded Troy was most likely was 13′ tall and less than 7′ wide, holding 30 – 40 men. Once Troy was successfully invaded, it was sacked, it’s citizens were pillaged and slaughtered, and its royal family raped and murdered. Even children were not immune to the scourge of this bloody battle as Homer’s iliad speaks of children being thrown to their death from great heights