A 3D Tour of Picasso’s Guernica

In June 1937 Pablo Picas­so paint­ed Guer­ni­ca, a mur­al that memo­ri­al­ized the events of April 27, 1937, the date when Ger­many sup­port­ed its fas­cist ally Fran­cis­co Fran­co and bombed Guer­ni­ca, a rather remote town in the Basque region of north­ern Spain. For the Nazis, the mil­i­tary strike was an excuse to try out their lat­est mil­i­tary hard­ware, estab­lish a blue­print for ter­ror bomb­ings of civil­ian pop­u­la­tions, and pull Spain into the fas­cist fold. After the bomb­ing, the repub­li­can gov­ern­ment on the oth­er side of the Span­ish Civ­il War com­mis­sioned Picas­so to cre­ate the mur­al for dis­play at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris.

You can learn more about the famous anti-war paint­ing, now housed at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, by check­ing out the Smarthis­to­ry primer post­ed below. In the mean­time, we’re high­light­ing today a dig­i­tal­ly-ren­dered 3D tour of Picas­so’s land­mark work. It’s the cre­ation of Lena Gieseke, a visu­al effects artist who, once upon a time, was mar­ried to the film­mak­er Tim Bur­ton. Some will con­sid­er the idea of putting Guer­ni­ca in 3D down­right blas­phe­mous. Oth­ers will find it instruc­tive, a chance to see parts of the mur­al from a new per­spec­tive. The video above runs three min­utes.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Gestapo Points to Guer­ni­ca and Asks Picas­so, “Did You Do This?;” Picas­so Replies “No, You Did!”

Guer­ni­ca: Alain Resnais’ Haunt­ing Film on Picasso’s Paint­ing & the Crimes of the Span­ish Civ­il War

Picas­so Paint­ing on Glass

Dear Mon­sieur Picas­so: A Free eBook

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Comments (11)
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  • b., from afar, says:

    Well, I respect­ful­ly dis­agree.
    It’s not blas­phe­mous, it’s rather stu­pid, and total­ly use­less; may I explain ?
    One of the shifts Picas­so brought to paint­ing was to flat­ten the pic­ture, ris­ing against the illu­sion of per­spec­tive. It’s one of the main things in cubism : image is not a fake 3D space, it’s a strong 2D sur­face.
    Inflat­ing forms like air bal­loons can only break the thin ice of the paint­ing. Heck ! Would he have want­ed to do some reti­nal truth, Picas­so would have done it, would­n’t he ?
    I think it’s some kind of vain exer­cise bored peo­ple can do just because they have the tools to. Play with some ear­ly-Renais­sance paint­ing, where the inven­tion of space makes sense !
    Here, it brings only strass and blink­ing lights : bet­ter for­get it !

  • eperspicalia says:

    I thought it was awe­some

  • eperspicalia says:

    I mean, I do think it is awe­some

  • Steve says:

    I have always admired this paint­ing & the way it cap­tures the almost unimag­in­able events on that day in the town of Guer­ni­ca- it is so sad yet pow­er­ful.
    I think this 3D ver­sion has been done sen­si­tive­ly and takes the view­er through the orig­i­nal in a new way.

  • encyclomedia says:

    I like this film, as it enables the “whole” 2D Cubist image to be sep­a­rat­ed into 3D “frac­tions” that enable one to focus more clear­ly on each indi­vid­ual ele­ment and then reassem­ble these dis­con­nect­ed “frag­ments” into Picas­so’s beau­ti­ful and yet hor­rif­ic orig­i­nal “holis­tic” paint­ing.

  • Kevin says:

    The orig­i­nal art­work is still there. It still exists. It has not been destroyed. All of your ideas about the won­der­ful­ness of cubism are still present in the orig­i­nal art­work, for you and every­one else to appre­ci­ate and enjoy. Anoth­er artist has sim­ply tak­en that art­work and cre­at­ed some­thing new from it that may, in fact, reach a larg­er audi­ence not even acquaint­ed with the orig­i­nal. It takes noth­ing away from Picas­so or his orig­i­nal intent.

  • Tim says:

    Regard­ing “from afar“ ‘s com­ment.
    All art is con­struct­ed on the shoul­ders of those who have come before. If this artist choos­es to rein­ter­pret this work into a 3‑D sculp­tur­al for­mat via dig­i­tal­iza­tion then it has accom­plished at least two changes to the work, and art is noth­ing if not change.
    Picas­so said some­thing like (paraphrase)that any work of art dies once it is com­plet­ed, and the muse­um is essen­tial­ly a mau­soleum.
    No offense intend­ed , but your objec­tion should be hung next to the flat­work as both are equal­ly dead.

  • simone gad says:

    i was for­tu­nate to see guer­ni­ca at moma many times in nyc before it went back to europe. an amaz­ing paint­ing. i saw it each time i went to nyc for art busi­ness and to see my agents.

  • Emmett Walz says:

    I have not seen the paint­ing “in per­son” but only in art books, etc.. Still I have nev­er expe­ri­enced any­thing close to feel­ings of awe, sor­row, or amaze­ment. I find look­ing at any of dozens of Goya char­coal draw­ings far more Impact­ful an expe­ri­ence as regards the hor­ror of man’s inhu­man­i­ty to man. I have found Picas­so’s work to be a sor­row­ful waste of an extra­or­di­nary tech­ni­cal tal­ent (as evi­denced by many of his ear­li­est non-cubist, real­ist style, pieces). Then again, I believe this is also true for almost the entire­ty of twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, mod­ernist “art”. I believe Tom Wolfe’s sem­i­nal work, “The Paint­ed Word” does much to express this gen­er­al­ly uni­ver­sal view of the great major­i­ty of mankind, as regards Mod­ernist “art”. It is a failed hoax as regards the expect­ed, or hoped for expe­ri­ence when view­ing art. Mod­ernist “art” has for the most part alien­at­ed most peo­ple from any appre­ci­a­tion of the offer­ings of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, and con­tin­u­ing to the present time. Just take a look at any museum“s vis­i­tors through­out the world when view­ing the allud­ed to “art” in their many glo­ri­fied col­lec­tions of Mod­ern “art”, and you will notice the Mod­ernist wings of the said muse­ums are vir­tu­al­ly emp­ty, as com­pared with the col­lec­tions of any peri­od of art pre­ced­ing the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. Those peo­ple attend­ing the Mod­ernist col­lec­tions are hap­py to report their deep­est expe­ri­ence of such “art” but try to find such “art” hung in any of their homes. Almost impos­si­ble to find a Jack­son Pol­lock print in the homes of these sup­posed fans of Mod­ernist “art”. Very “sophis­ti­cat­ed”, urbane lovers of Mod­ernist “art” appear to appre­ci­ate such evi­dence of their sophis­ti­ca­tion while in muse­ums only, and nev­er in their homes. Won­der why that is?!

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