Art is a visual, auditory and tactile form of expression that is influenced by social, cultural and political events, and it is synthesized with the artist's own experience and knowledge. From past to present, art sometimes turns into a tool of propaganda to influence masses, sometimes a monument or a political discourse with a painting to keep social events in memories. The use of art products as a political symbol or image have a long history dating back to the Roman Empire. The works of art that witness historical events shed light on past events by leaving traces in the visual memories of society. This research aims to examine Pablo Picasso's Guernica as a political discourse in art and to reveal its place in social memory. Guernica is a powerful political work under the leadership of Francisco Franco, in response to the bombing of Guernica in 1937, the Basque town of Northern Spain by Nazi Germany and Italian planes. It was claimed that 1654 people died along with many civilians in Guernica during the bombardment of the air force and the fire that lasted for 3 days. Ordered for the display of the Spanish Pavilion at a Paris World Fair in 1937, Guernica is dedicated to people who lost their lives in the Spanish civil war. Initially met with mockery, the work later undertook an activist role. Bringing the pain and brutality of the past to the present, Guernica is a silent scream created with symbolic expressions. Guernica, which is 3.49 meters high and 7.76 meters wide, is an allegorical cubic work made with geometric shapes using black and white colours. Picasso's statement “painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war against brutality and darkness” reveals Guernica's place in art. The study is a descriptive research and iconographic analysis made within the scope of literature review.
Keywords: Guernica, Picasso, Cubism, Reina Sofia, Spanish Civil War