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Guernica is a painting by Pablo Picasso. It was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country village in northern Spain by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Republican government commissioned Picasso to create a large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris.
Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. Upon completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention.
Guernica is grey, black and white, 3.5 meters (11.5 ft) tall and 7.8 meters (25.6 ft) wide, a mural-size canvas painted in oil. This painting can be seen in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. Picasso's purpose in painting it was to bring the world's attention to the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by German bombers, who were supporting the Nationalist forces of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso completed the painting by mid-June 1937. Picasso exhibited his mural-size painting at the Spanish display at theExposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937) (Paris International Exposition) in the 1937 World's Fair in Paris and then at other venues around the world. The San Francisco Museum of Art (later SFMOMA) gave the work its first public, free appearance in the United States from 27 August – 19 September. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City then mounted an important Picasso exhibition on 15 November 1939 that remained on view until 7 January 1940, entitled: Picasso: 40 Years of His Art, that was organized by Alfred H. Barr (1902–1981), in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition contained 344 works, including Guernica and its studies.