The Negative Influence Of Visual Arts In Time Of War

1836 words - 7 pages

Visual arts have been around for many centuries. In fact, theses arts have dated back to the very beginning of civilization. They go back to the Paleolithic Age, when artists used cave paintings to express the feelings and emotions of people of this time era. These eye-pleasing pieces of art have been used in different ways throughout history. Art has been used to portray and bring out negative feelings towards war and other forms of political violence. The tactic of swaying people through art has become very popular in times, especially when it comes to the topic of war. Opinions of other citizens in the United States and other countries around the world have become highly dependent on the visual arts, such as propaganda. Visual arts make people feel anxiety and angst, rather than relief against wars and other political violence.
Many times when people see a piece of art, they see a nicely painted picture or a glorious photograph. This mind set is not the way artists see themselves and their work. Artists do not make their art for just mere decoration, many artists use political and social issues to inspire their paintings and pictures. “Art can vividly reflect the views and concerns of society; artwork is also often regarded as a political forum. Artists often include political or social issues as elements in their work.” (Bagtas)
Pablo Picasso had a big impact, as a painter, on the opinions of the people. Many of his paintings have been the bases of opinion and criticisms throughout the world. During the Spanish Civil War, a little town had been bombed by opposite forces. These forces wiped out a little town, one of the oldest in the Basque province, named Guernica (Fred 27).
Picasso felt what was done to Guernica was wrong, and decided to paint a picture of the scene of Guernica, after the destruction. Picasso used different animals, such as a bull and a horse, to share his feelings towards the bombing of this tiny town. The painting, Guernica, in 1937 was put in the Paris World’s Fair Exhibition, where it received much praise and criticism. This painting influenced people to be more anti-war and anti-violence.

Fig. 1: “Picasso’s Guernica”

Picasso himself knew that his painting would be used to depict, and even gain support for those affected by the bombings. In 1945 Picasso states, “What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who has only eyes if a painter, ears if a musician, or a lyre at every level of the heart if at the same a political being constantly awake to harrowing, their image. How would it be possible to lose interest in other people, and, in the name of what carapace of nonchalance, to remove oneself from a life they bring you so copiously? No, painting is not made in order to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of offensive and defensive war against the enemy.” (qtd. in Leighten 2) In this quote, Picasso challenges the receiver of this statement...

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