Picasso’s “Guernica” and the Spanish Civil War: A Three-Part Course with Dr. Marta López Beriso - Context Travel

Picasso’s “Guernica” and the Spanish Civil War: A Three-Part Course with Dr. Marta López Beriso


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Picasso reveals a horrendous world through a spectacular masterpiece painted solely in black and white. In this three-part course, we will learn how the artist manipulates the bullfight, the “national Spanish fiesta”, to express a “national Spanish disaster”, through a horse, a bull, and a bullfighter immersed in fire and agony.

The large canvas by the renowned artist Pablo Picasso was created in response to the Nazi Condor Legion bombing of the civilian inhabitants of the remote Basque city Guernica on April 26th, 1937. When Picasso read in the newspapers how the city had been destroyed, he immediately put himself to work. In less than a month, his huge canvas was hanging in the Spanish Pavilion at the World Exhibition held in Paris.

Led by an expert on the history of art and photography, Marta López Beriso, this course puts together the history of the bombing of Guernica and the interpretation of the masterpiece by Picasso, emphasizing the history of the painting and its relationship to Spanish democracy. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travelers, it is an excellent complement to the understanding of the Iberian and Spanish culture today.

Lecture 1: The Bombing and the Spanish Civil War

Our first session will examine the events surrounding the Nazi bombing of the Basque city and its role in the Spanish Civil War, particularly the collaboration between Hitler and Franco to define “the perfect bombing”.

Lecture 2: Picasso at the World’s Fair

Our second session will trace the genesis and history of Picasso’s painting and its reception at the Spanish Pavilion at the World Fair.

Lecture 3: Contemporary Context

Our third and final session will focus on how to read the masterpiece “Guernica” in the context of the twenty-first century and beyond.

Professor Marta López Beriso is an active scholar and educator in the field of Art History. She teaches at various American universities in Madrid. She holds degrees in Art History and Archaeology (B.A. Université de La Sorbonne-Paris IV), Arts and Culture Administration (M.A. Universidad de Barcelona), and a PhD in Art History, expertise in History of Photography (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). She is also the founder and director of “Aulas de Arte”, a private non-profit organization, dedicated to educational services in museums, nationwide and internationally. Born and raised in Madrid, she has studied in Paris and also worked in New York at the beginning of her professional career, at MOMA. Back in Madrid she feels the city as a cosmopolitan insider. She knows both the historical and traditional Madrid she discovered with her mother and grandmother as well as the most contemporary and alternative side of the city.

How does it work?

This is a three-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $105 for three lectures.

Is a recording available?

Yes. If you need to miss a lecture, you will be sent a recording after the event.

This course is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
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(10)
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0%
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K
K.S.
One of the very best courses I've seen

Dr Lopez Beriso knows the subject cold and presents it with intelligence, clarity, and passion. Utterly compelling - and the best account of the bombing I've seen or read. Highly, highly recommended.

C
C.H.
Very Thorough Presentation on Guernica

My family used Context in the past for various trips to Europe. They have always been excellent so I decided to the virtual presentation a try. I have been to Madrid and used Context for our tour of El Prado, but we did Guernica on our own, so I thought this would round out my experience. It did not disappoint. Dr. Lopez Beriso truly knows the material down to its core. This felt truly like a high level masters course in art history. I have a background it art and art history so this was right up my alley. However, even with my knowledge there were so many things I did not know. We spent the first day simply on the history of Guernica the actual event, second day was the circumstances of Picasso creating the painting and the last day was a technical breakdown of the actual piece and Picasso's possible influences on the masterwork. I am a history buff also so I was really interested in all the background, some of which I did not know. The pictures used in the presentation were also ones I was not familiar with. Overall a very well done presentation by a true scholar.

V
V.N.
Excellent and compelling three-part course on Guernica and Spanish Civil War

This was an excellent and compelling course on Picasso's Guernica and the Spanish Civil War. We had visited Madrid in the spring of 2017 and had the opportunity to see Guernica at the Reina Sofia Museum. Dr. Beriso's well-structured, informative and intriguing course enabled us to appreciate the work much better and to understand the true horror surrounding the bombing of Guernica, understand the political environment at the time, and appreciate how other sources of art by both Picasso and other artists were used in the work. The lectures were always fascinating and Dr. Beriso was an extremely knowledge source and effective presenter of the subject.

K
K.L.
Great introduction to Picasso's “Guernica” and the Spanish Civil War

I found this a very engaging explanation of the historical and social context of the painting as well as a good introduction to interpreting the artwork itself. Fun and full of anecdotes and side stories that make it accessible for everyone.

C
C.
Highly recommended course

This three-part course was perfect for the topic. I came away with a sense of the pertinent world and Spanish history, including the events at Guernica; of Picasso and his artistic research and preparations; and of the symbolism and artistry he used to create this renowned masterpiece. Dr. López Beriso is knowledgeable and a great communicator who alway leaves abundant time for questions. I am so glad I took this course and highly recommend it.

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
100%
(10)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
K
K.S.
One of the very best courses I've seen

Dr Lopez Beriso knows the subject cold and presents it with intelligence, clarity, and passion. Utterly compelling - and the best account of the bombing I've seen or read. Highly, highly recommended.

C
C.H.
Very Thorough Presentation on Guernica

My family used Context in the past for various trips to Europe. They have always been excellent so I decided to the virtual presentation a try. I have been to Madrid and used Context for our tour of El Prado, but we did Guernica on our own, so I thought this would round out my experience. It did not disappoint. Dr. Lopez Beriso truly knows the material down to its core. This felt truly like a high level masters course in art history. I have a background it art and art history so this was right up my alley. However, even with my knowledge there were so many things I did not know. We spent the first day simply on the history of Guernica the actual event, second day was the circumstances of Picasso creating the painting and the last day was a technical breakdown of the actual piece and Picasso's possible influences on the masterwork. I am a history buff also so I was really interested in all the background, some of which I did not know. The pictures used in the presentation were also ones I was not familiar with. Overall a very well done presentation by a true scholar.

V
V.N.
Excellent and compelling three-part course on Guernica and Spanish Civil War

This was an excellent and compelling course on Picasso's Guernica and the Spanish Civil War. We had visited Madrid in the spring of 2017 and had the opportunity to see Guernica at the Reina Sofia Museum. Dr. Beriso's well-structured, informative and intriguing course enabled us to appreciate the work much better and to understand the true horror surrounding the bombing of Guernica, understand the political environment at the time, and appreciate how other sources of art by both Picasso and other artists were used in the work. The lectures were always fascinating and Dr. Beriso was an extremely knowledge source and effective presenter of the subject.

K
K.L.
Great introduction to Picasso's “Guernica” and the Spanish Civil War

I found this a very engaging explanation of the historical and social context of the painting as well as a good introduction to interpreting the artwork itself. Fun and full of anecdotes and side stories that make it accessible for everyone.

C
C.
Highly recommended course

This three-part course was perfect for the topic. I came away with a sense of the pertinent world and Spanish history, including the events at Guernica; of Picasso and his artistic research and preparations; and of the symbolism and artistry he used to create this renowned masterpiece. Dr. López Beriso is knowledgeable and a great communicator who alway leaves abundant time for questions. I am so glad I took this course and highly recommend it.