The Museo Reina Sofia is Spain’s modern art museum, and my son and I went there yesterday to see one thing and one thing only: Picasso’s Guernica, depicting the brutal aerial bombardment of the Basque city Guernica by the Fascists during the Spanish Civil War.
Showing the painting to my son was an antidote to our trip to the National Air and Space Museum in D.C in October.
Of course, an eighteen-month-old can’t be expected to have a sophisticated reaction to a powerful work of art about the monstrosities of the twentieth century.
But he comes close.
My son pointed at the mutilated bodies lying fallen on the ground and he said, “Uh-oh.” And then he made the hand sign for fall down.
Uh-oh is right.
I wonder if right now, somewhere in Falluja or Najaf, an aspiring artist is painting a successor to Guernica, honoring the 30,000 Iraqi civilians killed so far in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
If so, I hope my son sees that painting and is just as aware of suffering then as he is now.