Cal Winslow is director of the Mendocino Institute, and the editor of E.P. Thompson and the Making of the New Left: Essays and Polemics. His recent essay, “A Special Obscenity,” on Picasso’s masterwork, based on the 1937 Fascist bombing of the Spanish city of Guernica, was posted in Jacobin on April 26: exactly 80 years since the bombing.
“Pablo Picasso painted Guernica in just five weeks in the spring of 1937. ¶ Then living in Paris, Picasso, fifty-five, was already well-known. Born in Spain in 1881, he went to Paris in 1900; he had visited Spain in 1934 but would never return. ¶ Still, the insurgent Popular Front government appointed him director of the Prado Museum in Madrid, in absentia, and Picasso undertook several projects sympathetic to the Republic and to raise funds on its behalf. The government in turn asked him to produce a mural for the 1937 Paris World’s Fair, and he agreed, though progress at first was slow. It was the April 26 attack at Guernica that moved him. He threw himself into the painting and in less than five weeks, astonishingly, had completed Guernica….”
Read the essay in Jacobin