Journal of Undergraduate Research


representations of women, Guernica, Picasso, paintings


Fine Arts and Communications




Although there is a wealth of scholarship on Picasso’s Guernica (1937) (Fig. 1), until recently there has been a distinct lack of analyses completed through feminist methods, an approach essential to a holistic understanding of Guernica. Conducting on-site research at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, I focused on the women of the painting, studying preparatory drawings and works in which Picasso’s representation of women often borders on violent, painting them as monstrous and agonized. The correlation between Picasso’s previous representations of women and Guernica’s harrowing display of women and animals in pain participates within the Spanish artistic tradition in which women have been used by artists such as Francisco Goya to show the pain and horrors of war. The modern world’s tragic scene, Guernica, while reinforcing the barbarity of modern warfare, participates in the androcentric artistic tradition in which the consequences of war on the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of women have been systematically ignored in favor of using representations of suffering women as an artistic device essential to ensuring the simultaneously empathetic and horrified responses of its viewers.