Image: Massacre in Korea by Pablo Picasso. Credit: Succession Pablo Picasso - SACK (Korea)
For the first time, Pablo Picasso’s oil painting Massacre in Korea, completed in 1951 during the Korean War, is being exhibited in Korea. The painting is a part of a special exhibition commemorating the 140th anniversary of the painter’s birth, held at the Hangaram Gallery 한가람미술관 of the Seoul Arts Center 예술의 전당. Along with the centerpiece painting, the exhibit showcases approximately 110 artworks by Picasso, loaned by Musee Picasso in Paris, France.
Massacre in Korea is the third in the series of anti-war paintings by Picasso, along with Guernica from 1937 and the Charnel House from 1945. The painting is influenced by Francisco Goya’s the Third of May 1808, which shows Napoleon’s soldiers executing Spanish civilians. Similar to Goya’s work, Massacre in Korea shows civilians on the left - a group of naked women and children at the foot of a mass grave - and the firing squad on the right. Although the painting is considered “one of Picasso’s most important pacifist works,” it had difficulty being exhibited in South Korea as Picasso created the painting to denounce the US forces’ massacre of North Korean civilians.