Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Day in Guernica

A Ceramic Tile Installation in Gernika
Most of us know about Guernica from Pablo Picasso's painting. He painted it right after the bombing of the town in April 1937. It was commissioned by the Republicans in Spain and after it was exhibited in Paris it toured the world and brought attention to the civil war that was being fought in Spain and became a universal cry for peace. Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth Century Icon by Gijs van Hensbergen is a great book for more information about the events leading up to and following the making of this painting. It is now on view at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid

Tree of Gernika (Guernica in Euskera)

Our lives in Spain are full of Basque history, Jorge's ancestors are from the Basque country and he feels quite at home here. Trees are also an important and recurring theme so when we discovered that the oak tree is a symbol of the freedom of the Basque people and Basque nationalism it felt right. 
In the middle ages the representatives of villages in Biscay would hold assemblies under local large oak trees. The tree acquired a symbolic meaning after the Gernika assembly was built in 1512. A Tree Dynasty,"The Father", planted in the 14th C. lasted 450 years."The Old Tree", 1742-1892, replanted in 1811, the trunk is held in a templet in the surrounding garden."The Third Tree", replanted in 1860, survived the bombing but had to be replaced due to a fungus."Current Tree",  grown from an acorn of the third tree and was planted on the site of it's father in 2005.

Four Variations on the Coat of Arms with the Gernika Tree
On an iron fence
This tree is from Santo Domingo de La Calzada

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