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Paella, Picasso, Guernica

Posted in Art, cucina, cucina povere, Gluten Free & Delicious, La Dolce Vita, recipes, slow food, the Mediterranean diet, Travel & customs, and Uncategorized


Guest Post by Madigan Naylor

Many people the world over consider Pablo Picasso to be one of the best artists of all time.  Even though he was Spanish, few people don’t know that he journeyed to Italy in 1917 for about 5 years.  There, he picked up several Italian influences in his art.

Picasso’s painting, Guernica, is a chaotic, nightmarish work of art that conveys the tragedy of the bombing incident on the city, Guernica in Spain.  Picasso conveys his feelings about it and the incidents that may have occurred through his use of colors, iconography, and style.  Picasso was trying to draw attention to the tragedy more than his own inner feelings and the events around him like most artists do through these artistic devices.
Guernica is painted in very dull and mundane colors. Picasso used grey, white and black to emulate the newspapers in which the news of this event would have first reached people.  This may have been to draw in and communicate to a bigger crowd.  The style of a newspaper seems common and familiar to the people, even the illiterate.  The look of a newspaper also communicates an event or news that is needed to enlighten the people.  Picasso may have done this to spread the news of the tragedy and draw attention.  The use of these certain colors also could symbolize the tragedy of the event.  Picasso used dull colors to not glorify the painting or in turn, the event.  The colors contrast the chaos of the event because the tones slow it down and emphasize the horrific nature of the event..

The style of the painting is abstracted but still representational in many ways such as the faces, lights, candles, horses, swords, and flowers, which are all recognizable if not put into a logical order. The painting is also cubist or similar to it, breaking up of forms into different viewpoints, angular figures, and oddly shaped figures in anti-naturalistic poses and gestures.  The demented, nonlinear shapes and figures set the tone and mood of the painting.  The composition is chaotic and unorganized, with stark forms and overlapping shapes and forms.  The use of space in his painting parallels with the event, in that it is chaotic, busy, and unorganized.
Picasso uses a lot of iconography in his painting, Guernica.  Most of it are traditional icons, even though his painting is so abstract and the shapes are less recognizable.  The light and candles could represent enlightenment or truth, but could also be a criticism of how such enlightenment led to such brutal warfare.  The fallen statue with the broken sword represents the fall of all things permanent and of glory and honor.  The bull represents Spain or Franco. The screaming horse represents betrayed innocence, such as the suffering of the Spanish Republic during this time of great tragedy and chaos.  The flower symbolizes possible hope overwhelmed by destruction.  The mother and dead child in the bottom corner could be a possible Pietá reference, or a reference to the Virgin and Child images but overturned; here the mother mourns dead child where Mary celebrated the life of hers and/ or hopelessness.  (This is a popular image in Italian culture and art.)
Art is a huge part of European culture, and art historians relate the birth of art back to the Renaissance, which began in Italy.  Even though he was Spanish, Picasso knew that Italy was the place to go to absorb the culture and spirit of Italy.

I think the dish that fuses Italian with Spanish so well is Paella. it is not only a delicious dish to eat but a fun dish to make and people often make paella for get togethers, great for summertime when seafood can easily be gotten fresh.


(from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking, copyright 2011-2012 Art of Living.PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati)

photo credit:

2 cups rice (arborio or carnaroli)

1 pound mussels

1/2 pound shrimp

8 prawns

1/2 pound small clams

1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

white wine

dash paprika

3 red, ripe tomatoes


extra virgin oilve oil

1 quart clam broth

1 teaspoon saffron

1 pepper

Place mussels and clams  in pan with white wine (about a cup or two and cook, let mussels open. Toss out the ones that do not open. Set aside. Filter the liquid remaining and add to the clam broth, bring to a boil in another pan.

Cut, take out seeds, filet tomatoes.

Place 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 garlic cloves in a saute pan. Add in shrimp that have been cleaned and deveined and prawns. Let brown or become golden and then set aside, eliminate garlic.

In another pan, add in  tablespoon olive oil, clove garlic,fileted tomatoes and pepper cut into strips. Saute for 5 minutes, add in dash paprika, peas ,rice and cover with hot broth, add in saffron, cover. Let cook for 15 minutes without mixing. If broth evaporates add in a little water. After 15 minutes add in shrimp and prawns and mussels and clams  and cook for another 5  minutes.. Serve with clams, mussels, on top and fresh parsley sprigs and of course some dry white wine


For more recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition (winner of the Gourmand World Awards)



**July 27-29-See you all at the Gourmet Food and Wine Show at Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City. Preview of the latest book release and also on stage cooking demos.For more info email:

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