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Picasso's Guernica

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Pablo Picasso's Guernica, which he painted in 1937 soon after the bombing of that Basque town in the Spanish Civil War, and its wider context.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the context and impact of Pablo Picasso's iconic work, created soon after the bombing on 26th April 1937 that obliterated much of the Basque town of Guernica, and its people. The attack was carried out by warplanes of the German Condor Legion, joined by the Italian air force, on behalf of Franco's Nationalists. At first the Nationalists denied responsibility, blaming their opponents for creating the destruction themselves for propaganda purposes, but the accounts of journalists such as George Steer, and the prominence of Picasso's work, kept the events of that day under close scrutiny. Picasso's painting has gone on to become a symbol warning against the devastation of war.


Mary Vincent
Professor of Modern European History at the University of Sheffield

Gijs van Hensbergen
Historian of Spanish Art and Fellow of the LSE Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies


Dacia Viejo Rose
Lecturer in Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge
Fellow of Selwyn College

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

54 minutes

Last on

Thu 2 Nov 2017 21:30


Mary Vincent at the University of Sheffield

Gijs van Hensbergen

Dacia Viejo Rose at the University of Cambridge

The Pavilion of the Spanish Republic, 1937 - Reina Sofia Museum

Art and Architecture Towards Political Crises: The 1937 Paris International Exposition in Context –

Piecing together Guernica – BBC News Magazine

Picasso's Guernica - Wikipedia


Hershel B. Chipp, Picasso’s Guernica: History, Transformations, Meanings (University of California Press, 1992)

Gijs van Hensbergen, Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005)

Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso (Virago, 1990)

Helen Graham, The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Ian Patterson, Guernica and Total War (Profile Books, 2007)

Roland Penrose, Picasso: His Life and Work (University of California Press, 1992)

Paul Preston, We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War (Constable, 2009)

Paul Preston, The Destruction of Guernica (Harper Collins, 2010)

Nicholas Rankin, Telegram from Guernica: The Extraordinary Life of George Steer, War Correspondent (Faber and Faber, 2013)

Marie Louise S. Sørensen and Dacia Viejo-Rose (eds.), War and Cultural Heritage: Biographies of Place (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

Herbert Southworth, Guernica! Guernica!: A Study of Journalism, Diplomacy, Propaganda and History (University of California Press, 1992)

George Steer, The Tree of Gernika: A Field Study of Modern War (first published 1938; Faber and Faber, 2011)

Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts, Guernica: The Crucible of World War II (first published 1975; Scarborough House, 1991)

Dacia Viejo-Rose, Reconstructing Spain: Cultural Heritage and Memory after Civil War (SAP/Cañada Blanch, 2014)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Mary Vincent
Interviewed Guest Gijs van Hensbergen
Interviewed Guest Dacia Viejo Rose
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 2 Nov 2017 09:00
  • Thu 2 Nov 2017 21:30

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