Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso. Massacre in Korea, 1951



110 x 210 cm

Paris, Picasso Museum


This political masterpiece is Picasso's reaction to the massacre of civilians committed by the US and South Korean military forces in the period of October to December, 1950. About 35,000 people were killed in the vicinity of Sinchon those days.

Referring to Francisco Goya's painting "The Third of May 1808" (1814) which depicts the shooting of Spanish civilians by Napoleon soldiers, Picasso worked in a manner typical of his late art period. He focuses the viewer's attention on certain points: what the soldiers with masked faces are bearing in their hands is not rifles, but something abstract, defining aggression in general; one of them has a sword in his hand that symbolizes the historicity of war; all the people to be shot are women (some of them pregnant) and children, and those preparing to die are facing the viewer directly.

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