Pablo Picasso & √5: Part I

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

‘Guernica’ is considered a twentieth century masterpiece. Pablo Picasso is considered an artistic genius. There is no shortage of analytical writing on this painting or the artist. Sometimes, when these labels become accepted, people stop looking and just copy.

Alice Doumanian Tankard, in her book ‘Picasso’s Guernica: After Rubens Horrors of War’, looks a little closer at how Picasso steals. She goes to considerable effort to reconcile the narrative elements of both paintings and their place in historical context. In short, she shows how Picasso stole the narrative in ‘Consequences of War’.

Take a look at Rubens work.

Diagram 1
Diagram 1*

Now lets look at the composition…

Diagram 2
Diagram 2

 

Rubens-Horrors-of-War-D&RwSubs
Diagram 3

 

Rubens-Horrors-of-War-CL
Diagram 4

 

Rubens-Horrors-of-War-Sweeps
Diagram 5

 

Rubens-Horrors-of-War-Rabated-Squares
Diagram 6*

 

Diagram 7
Diagram 7

 

As we’ll see, Picasso stole more than the skin from Rubens with ‘Guernica’. He also took the bones…

*It helps to reverse the narrative elements.

**Rabatment is coming.