Mention Pablo Ruiz Picasso at a party and chances are the conversation will center on his seriously distorted visages, like The Weeping Woman and The Red Armchair. But that’s just one chapter in the book on this Spanish master whose illustrious career spanned 70 years.
What’s mentioned less often is his role in politics, as a Delegate at the Paris Peace Conference and in the Peace Movement, in general. While his work sometimes chronicled the senseless violence before him, Picasso’s real desire was to secure peace, freedom and equality for all.
That’s why we’re honoring him today, on this International Day of Peace, and showcasing some of his contributions to the global peace movement.
In 1937, Picasso painted Guernica, a monochromatic, mural-sized masterpiece, in response to the outrage he felt over the Spanish Civil War. It’s now considered one of the most iconic anti-war paintings in history.
In 1949, Picasso designed the Dove of Peace emblem for the First International Peace Conference in Paris. Later, he created a simpler line drawing version that has become synonymous with peace, worldwide.
Over several decades, Picasso channeled his passion for art and peace into poster-making. These works helped promote events put on by the Peace Movement and, though often eclipsed by his more iconic pieces, are striking in their own right.
1952 – Meeting of People for Peace, Vienna, Austria
1958 – Peace Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden
1960 – Celebration for the Success of the Peace Summit, Paris, France
Speaking out on Peace
And, when he wasn’t painting and designing posters, Picasso was quick to share his opinions on the role of artists in the peace movement. A reporter once asked him why he’d concern himself with politics and world affairs. He famously replied, “What do you think an artist is? He is a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image.”
That says it all. Thanks for your courage and conviction, Pablo. And, happy International Day of Peace to our art lovers!