Picasso's Guernica

Grade Levels: 9 - 12


  • Students will learn about the Spanish Civil War and Spain's politics during World War II.
  • Students will discuss Picasso's depiction of the war atrocities at Guernica, Spain.
  • Students will use Picasso's Guernica to discuss World War II.


  • Internet Access


  1. Discuss the political environment of Franco's Spain in 1937. See the Franco biography below, which includes a link to the Spanish Civil War.
  2. Introduce students to the story of the bombing of Guernica. The resource from PBS below offers an excellent overview, as well as quotes from survivors.
  3. Have students examine the painting of Guernica. They should draw conclusions about Picasso's intent. What specific elements of the painting show Picasso's viewpoint?

    Franco biography from infoplease.com

    Guernica from PBS
    A detailed account of the atrocities at Guernica and Picasso's reaction. Includes the history of the painting, and Picasso's refusal to allow the painting to return to Spain until certain human rights conditions were met. Be sure to click on the small boxes throughout the text for more details on the topics summarized.

    Picasso Biography from infoplease.com


Provided by Infoplease—an authoritative, comprehensive reference website that offers an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an atlas, and several almanacs. Visit Infoplease.com to find more resources endorsed by teachers and librarians.

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