On June 6, 1937, Guernica was set to be seen by colleagues and friends. They were surprised at the size of the painting: extending to 11 feet tall and 26 feet wide. The overall reaction was critically overwhelming. Some were confused while others were repelled. Soon it was sent to the Spanish Pavilion for the Paris Exposition for more than colleagues and friends to view (Penrose, Roland; Martin Russell).
Guernica hung at the Spanish pavilion where more than colleagues and friends could see it. But the painting was criticized even from its own side. One of the Communist leaders said that the mural was representing guilt rather than encouraging military forces. The painting was described as “antisocial and entirely foreign for a healthy proletarian outlook.” Fortunately it survived the Spanish Civil War and the criticism it received (192).
Hanging on the expedition in the Spanish Pavilion, it was the most contradictory painting. Public viewers were surprised at the meaning the picture presented. But as time passed, the people began to notice it as more of a protest against the war. Meanwhile they understood the “idioms” in which Picasso was trying to bring forth and it was recognized to be the most important painting of the century (192).
Martin, Russell. Picasso’s War. New York: Artist Right Society, 1937.
Penrose, Roland. Picasso: His Life and Work. New York, Harper, 1959.