This essay is a comparison between two large paintings, Guermica (by Pablo Picasso) and Departure (by Max Beckmann), that are seen as political protests against war. The factors that I will consider for this comparison are the style, color, shape, line, and use of symbolism in each work of art. References to earlier works of the artists will be made. This is especially so for Guernica as I find that, when analyzing the mural, it is crucial to study the metamorphosis recorded in its preliminary sketches.
From 1932 to 1933, when Nazism rose in power, Max Beckmann secretly produced the large triptych, Departure. This painting was started in Frankfurt and then completed in Berlin. Beckmann's painting reflects his spiritual role as an artist unconcerned with public events. He asserted that Departure is not a reaction against Nazism, but a reflection of life as suffering. It displays the tormenting reality of life, and humans which is an spiration for spiritual freedom. Still, the fact that the triptych is painted in a period of political upheaval means that it is inspired by political events. .
Pablo Picasso, in 1937, produced preliminary sketches and THE DREAM AND LIE OF FRANCO before completing GUERNICA, which is a strong personal reaction against the Nazi bombing of a town in Guernica. Unlike DEPARTURE, GUERNICA was inspired by a particular event. Although GUERNICA contains Cubism's intellectual analytical structuring, Picasso certainly did not execute the painting for the sake of structure. .
Both works, however, depict dark nightmarish scenes of carnage and bestiality. Both works seem to acknowledge the ever-present dark side of human life. Both works, because of the heavy use of personal symbols, are about timeless truths and the artists" innermost feelings rather than about historical facts. .
Timelessness in GUERNICA is suggested by the use of sword rather than a more relevant machine gun, and mythological reference.