The New Version of Guernica
On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, French artist Jean Pierre Raynaud debuted an homage to Pablo Picasso’s 1937 anti-war masterpiece, Guernica.
The artist will donate his take on Picasso's Guernica to Ukraine, after April 24th, when the artwork will be given to Vadym Omelchenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to France, and eventually transferred to the National Museum of Art in Kyiv. For two months before the date, the artwork by Raynaud will remain on view at Paris’s Pantheon-Sorbonne University, where it has been installed opposite a printed reproduction of Picasso’s painting.
Although the painting shares the dimensions of Picasso's masterpiece, the composition is rather dissimilar to the original Guernica. Instead of monochromatic depictions of soldiers and animals completed after the titular Spanish town was bombed by the Nazis in 1937, Raynaud depicted two “do not enter” signs accompanied by a pair of parallel black lines, making a work that is the contemporary counterpart of original Guernica.
The visual symbols have been part of the artist's visual vocabulary for decades and symbolize fear experienced in an intimate way, much like a child does. The artwork is meant to convey a similar emotionality as that of the figures being torn apart by war in Picasso’s iconic scene.