Russell Martin Picasso's War

ISBN 13: 9780525946809

Picasso's War

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9780525946809: Picasso's War

From the bestselling author of Beethoven's Hair comes a stirring narrative account of the bombing of the town that inspired one of the world's most celebrated and controversial works of art, the painting Guernica's profound impact on the politics and culture of the twentieth century, and the artist whose immense passion and artistic vision are unequaled in modern history.

On April 26, 1937, in the late afternoon of a busy market day in the Basque town of Gernika in northern Spain, the German Luftwaffe began the relentless bombing and machine-gunning of businesses, homes and villagers to test a new type of warfare waged from the air at the request of General Francisco Franco and his rebel forces. Three-and-a-half hours later, the village lay in ruins, its population decimated. This act of terror and unspeakable cruelty the first intentional, large-scale attack against a nonmilitary target in modern warfare outraged the world, and compelled a Spanish painter to respond with artistic fury. Pablo Picasso, an expatriate living in Paris, reacted immediately to the devastation in his homeland by beginning work on the canvas that would become his testament against the horrors of war.

Guernica has become widely considered the greatest artwork of the twentieth century in the sixty-five years since its creation, and has been claimed as a powerful symbolic image first by the embattled government of Republican Spain and then, over time, by the international communist party, American artists opposing the war in Vietnam, international peace organizations, Basque separatists, survivors of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and people everywhere.

Weaving themes of conflict and redemption, doom and transcendence, and featuring some of the century's most memorable and infamous figures, including Adolf Hitler, Eleanor Roosevelt, George Orwell, Jackson Pollock, Lillian Hellman, and Picasso himself, Martin follows this renowned masterwork from its fevered creation through its journey across decades, from many countries of Europe to America and finally and triumphantly to Spain. Picasso's War is a book that vividly demonstrates how vital art is to human lives and how sometimes it even transfigures tragedy, a story that delivers an unforgettable portrait of an artistic genius whose visionary rendering of the terrible wounds of war still resonates profoundly today.

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From the Author:

The story of Guernica is one in which Picasso's masterpiece readily proves that art matters enormously in our individual and collective lives. Far more than decoration, great art of every kind painting, sculpture, literature, music, dance examines, reflects on, and makes sense of events that we otherwise struggle to understand. Art gives us a common language and common perspective with which to grieve and to celebrate, to express outrage and to offer hope.

Guernica has become so important worldwide because it has so perfectly suited its times. It is monumental without being classically "monumental," depicting as it does a vital political event from the microcosmic perspective of its victims rather than from the macrocosm of historical "meaning." Guernica became great, in the view of critic Hilton Kramer, because "a great painter placed his talents at the service of a great political cause, and thus for one splendid moment of history, at least the treacherous gap separating the hermetic concerns of modernist art from the larger and more compelling interests of society was triumphantly bridged." It is that process of bridging the linking of human tragedy to the alchemy of art that is the soul of this story. It is a story that affirms that it is art that best enables us to ennoble our lives, and that only art can meaningfully fuse both doom and beauty.

About the Author:

Russell Martin is the author of Beethoven's Hair (2000), a U.S. bestseller and winner of the Colorado Book Award, which has been published in fifteen editions around the world and will soon be the subject of an international television documentary. His highly acclaimed 1994 book, Out of Silence, was named by the Bloomsbury Review as one of fifteen best books of its first fifteen years of publication. A Story That Stands Like A Dam: Glen Canyon and the Struggle for the Soul of the West (1989), won the Caroline Bancroft History Prize.

He also is the author of the novel Beautiful Islands (1988); The Color Orange: A Super Bowl Season with the Denver Broncos (1987); Matters Gray and White: A Neurologist, His Patients & the Mysteries of the Brain (1986); Entering Space (co-authored with Joseph P. Allen, 1984), and Cowboy: The Enduring Myth of the Wild West (1983). He has edited two anthologies of contemporary western writing, Writers of the Purple Sage (1984) and New Writers of the Purple Sage (1992).

He is a graduate of The Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where he has returned to teach for eighteen years. He also has taught courses at conferences including Writers@Work and the Desert Writers workshop. He spent a postgraduate year on a Thomas Watson Foundation fellowship in Great Britain and Guatemala and worked as a newspaper reporter in Telluride, Colorado for a number of years before becoming a freelance writer. In 1995, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater.

He lives in Denver and Salt Lake City.

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Martin, Russell
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ISBN 10: 0525946802 ISBN 13: 9780525946809
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