It is the beginning of a new year, and it hold many opportunities and mysteries. But it isn’t always easy to gain perspective on events as we are experiencing them. Despite the year’s name, it is the past which actual offers us that 20/20 perspective. “The Big Picture,” if you will. OFMARIAANTONIA‘s photo challenges for this year include one entitled, “Big Picture” I have attached one such Big Picture from Guernica in the Basque Country in Spain.
This image by Pablo Picasso was his response to the Fascist bombing of the town during the Spanish Civil War. The original oil painting measures 3.49 meters (11 ft 5 in) in height and 7.76 meters (25 ft 6 in) across. Though huge, the meaning of the painting is perhaps even bigger. It was painted to raise money for war relief and to bring the world’s attention to the atrocities being committed in the conflict.
Franco’s Fascist government with the aid of the Nazi Condor Legion attacked the Basque capital on 26 April 1937 during market day thus insuring maximum civilian casualties and instilling psychological terror of Franco’s opponents. The choice of target was calculated on several levels. First, the aforementioned psychological impact was evident. But Guernica also symbolised democracy, as the fiercely independent Basque people had their ancient parliament in the town.
The attached photo is of a tile reproduction of Picasso’s work which has been erected in the town as a reminder of the Guernica’s past, and of the consequences of democracy being eclipsed by dictatorship. That is truly, a “Big Picture,” to remember.