New twist in battle over Picasso's Guernica

11th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 April 2006, BILBAO — The Basque regional government has formally asked Madrid for Pablo Picasso's masterpiece Guernica to be put on show in the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

11 April 2006

BILBAO — The Basque regional government has formally asked Madrid for Pablo Picasso's masterpiece Guernica to be put on show in the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

In the latest twist in an on-going battle over the painting, the regional government asked Madrid to allow it to be moved from the capital before the 70th anniversary next year of the bombardment of the Basque town which first inspired Picasso.

On 26 April 1937, bombers from the German Condor Legion bombed the town, killing more than 1,600 civilians as part of Hitler's support for General Francisco Franco's nationalist side during the Spanish Civil War.

The bombing caused international outrage and inspired Picasso to change a painting he had been working on. Guernica became an international symbol of the brutality of war.

Picasso would not let the painting return to Spain until Franco died in 1975.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the return of Guernica which finally arrived in 1981. 

Basque nationalists and conservative opposition members of the parliamentary culture commission voted last week to put a motion to the government asking for a temporary return of the painting. 

Now the Basque government has added its support to the move.

The government opposes the move, claiming it would harm the painting.

But in the wake of the recent ETA permanent ceasefire, the Socialist government might be encouraged to make a gesture to the Basques, for which the painting has huge symbolic importance.

Guernica was the seat of the Basque parliament.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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