Comparing and Contrasting Guernica and 3rd of May

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The two art pieces are historically rich in the reasons behind the painting, the reasons within the paintings, and how the paintings affect the societies where they were painted and across the world.

Francisco Goya

Francisco Goya Francisco de Goya was born on March 30, 1746, in Fuendetodos, Spain. He began painting as a teenager, he went to Rome and Italy to further his artistic studies throughout his lifetime. He spent some years of childhood in Saragossa, that is where he began to study painting around the age of fourteen. Later on he moved to Madrid, which is where he would work with his brothers for a while. Goya would end up becoming completely deaf, because of an unknown illness. Goya expressed his dissatisfaction with government, and he felt that he would be safer if he moved, so he moved to France where he spent the rest of his life.

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History of 3rd of May

The 3rd of May was completed in 1814 by Francisco Goya. He painted this painting in Spain. The reason behind his painting, is that Napoleon's army and Spain were in the middle of the Peninsular war. Napoleon’s soldiers would line people up and kill them off in herds and this painting depicts that. To give you more background on the reason, let’s start with Napoleon, he declared himself First Consul of the French Republic in 1799, and crowned himself emperor of France in 1804. Spain controlled the Mediterranean which made them a political and strategic target for France. Napoleon went through many things to attempt to gain control of Spain, but Spain was not in favor of the new leader, and Goya painted this to represent this. He wanted to show what was happening and that Spain was not giving up.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was born on October 25th, 1881, his father worked as an artist and also a professor at the school of fine arts. Pablo Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer. He is the co-creator of cubism along side Georges Braque. In 1917 Pablo Picasso paired with the Russian Ballet, who toured Rome. During this time he met his future wife whom he wed 1918. He was supposedly a part of the communist party and showed viciousness towards his children. Ultimately Pablo Picasso died on April 8th of heart failure.

History of Guernica

Guernica painted by Pablo Picasso in 1937, he painted this painting to show the pain and suffering that comes with war. Guernica is a town in the province of Biscay. War planes from Germany bombed Guernica for around 2 hours and after Picasso heard about what had happened he immediately stopped working on the painting he was originally painting for the Spanish Republican Government and started painting Guernica to show the suffering that the Guernica had felt as a city. Now Guernica is one of the most popular pieces of artwork by Picasso, it originally did not gain attention like you would think, but soon it gained attention for the true meaning of the suffering that innocent people felt.


Guernica by Pablo Picasso and 3rd of May by Francisco Goya are both based off of what the two artists either experienced or someone or something close to them experienced, they are both war based, 3rd of May because of Napoleon's army and Guernica because of the German bombing of Guernica. The paintings are not just another painting to either of the artist they are very sincere to themselves and the people who experienced these tragic horrific acts of violence. The painting now give us a way back into the past to learn from these events and make sure we never let something like this happen again.


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Comparing and Contrasting Guernica and 3rd of May. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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