Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Similarity Between Delacroix Massacre at Chios & Picasso Guernica Discussion | All Paper
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As I mentioned previously, this discussion is a bit more challenging than the first. The greatest challenge (for most
of you) probably derived from the two Modernist works. That isn’t surprising, since the abstraction frequently
found in Modernist works can be challenging or even confusing at times, and at the very least requires some effort
to come to grips with. I’ll start by taking a moment to say something about each of the four works.
To begin with the paintings, many of you seem to have noticed and pointed out the similarity of subject matter
between Delacroix’s Massacre at Chios and Picasso’s Guernica, the similarity being a setting of warfare or violent
conflict, with the violence in question perpetrated by the powerful against the powerless. In the case of Massacre
at Chios (painted in 1824), Delacroix wished to address the aftermath of the Ottoman Empire’s actions two years
earlier to suppress the independence efforts of ethnic Greeks on Chios and other Greek­inhabited islands in the
eastern Mediterranean Sea. In the case of Guernica (painted in 1937), Picasso’s subject was the bombing of
Guernica, a small city in northern Spain, earlier that same year. The bombing was carried out by aircraft from Nazi
Germany and fascist Italy during the Spanish Civil War and took place at the request of General Francisco Franco,
a Spanish general trying to overthrow the elected government of Spain, who had allied himself with Adolf Hitler
and Benito Mussolini (who were the leaders of Germany and Italy, respectively; Franco was eventually successful
at seizing control of the Spanish government).
Delacroix’s Massacre at Chiosis considered one of the first significant paintings in the Romantic style, and it
played a major role in initiating the Romantic style in Western painting. It had an extremely controversial
reception when first exhibited, both because of its subject matter and because of its rejection of Neoclassical
aesthetic principles. Picasso’s Guernica, while it did not initiate any new developments in Western painting (all of
the stylistic elements that Picasso draws upon for the painting had been developed years earlier, either by him or
by other artists), the painting itself is considered one of the most significant Western paintings of the 20th century
because of its powerful anti­war sentiment. (A reproduction of Guernica can be found in the entry lobby of the
United Nations building, an organization founded after World War II in an effort to prevent future global conflict.)
In the case of the poems, while the poems themselves and their creators are both prominent in the literary world,
they don’t hold quite the same status as their painting counterparts. Poe was a skilled poet but, while a few of his
poems (such as ‘Annabel Lee’ and ‘The Raven’) are widely known and well-liked by many readers, most literary
scholars would say that his most important contribution to 19th century American literature lies not in his poetry
but in the role he played in the development of the modern short story. Cummings, in turn, while considered to be
a significant 20th century American poet, would not usually appear in most literary scholars’ “Top 10” lists.
Nevertheless, as with Poe, there are a handful of Cummings’s poems (such as ‘anyone lived in a pretty how town’
and ‘she being brand’) that are highly prized by many readers. (Of the four works, the Cummings poem probably
posed the most difficulty for many of you. If you’re interested, at the bottom of this document I’ve added a brief
discussion of some of the thornier technical aspects of his poem.)

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