How Picasso’s Famed Mural ‘Guernica’ Became a Poignant Political Symbol for Activists Around the World

At 11 feet tall and 25 feet long, Pablo Picasso’s mural Guernica is one of the biggest and most important works by the modernist master. But the work has been considered more than just a treasure of art history by many. Painted in response to the bombing of a Basque town in 1937, Guernica has also become a powerful symbol of the horrors of war for protesters around the world. The guide below examines the mural’s history, including its 42-year-long sojourn in the United States, its role in Vietnam War protests, its legendary defacement in 1974, and its storied first exhibition in Spain in 1981.

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