Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 8 July 2015

TV review

Picasso - Portillo's peculiar perspective

A mural of Picasso's anti-war work 'Guernica', photo by Tony Hisgett (Creative Commons)

A mural of Picasso's anti-war work 'Guernica', photo by Tony Hisgett (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Ian Pattison reviews Portillo on Picasso, an episode from the ITV series Perspectives.

A recent repeat of an ITV show Perspectives brought a rare shock. I was appalled to see my favourite artist Pablo Picasso being adored by one of my least favourite politicians, Michael Portillo. Portillo's father, Luis, and Picasso were both born in Spain, and were exiled during the years of fascist dictator Franco's vicious rule. Picasso would never return, he died before the dictatorship fell.

Luis Portillo was a stretcher bearer in the Republican forces in their battle with the fascist Franco during the Spanish Revolution. But his son Michael chose to join the same Conservative Party in the 1970s that had refused to give support to his father's struggle four decades earlier.

Portillo senior made a brave stand like hundreds of thousands around the globe against the sweep of the fascist tide in Spain, but Michael Portillo became a member of Thatcher's government, which at the time backed another far right dictator, Pinochet, in Chile.

Picasso's enormous collection of paintings and artwork are magnificent. He developed a revolutionary style, cubism, where scenes and objects are viewed simultaneously from multiple directions on a 2D canvas.

Russian revolutionary socialist Leon Trotsky (who wrote 'Art and Revolution') said "art should be judged first and foremost by the rules of art", but we can't ignore the influences on Picasso.

These included the revolutionary struggle in Spain, and his horror at witnessing the destruction extolled by fascism, capitalism, and war.

Picasso's most famous painting, Guernica, was commissioned to win support for the Republican cause.

Beautifully crafted to demonstrate the brutality of war, Guernica depicts the terrible blanket bombing of the Basque town of that name by the Nazis in 1937. Tory Portillo would like us to think Guernica is more about Picasso's love of bull-fighting than his sympathy for the Spanish revolution!

Exiled and living in France, Picasso was caught in the radical surge after World War Two. He joined the French Communist Party and remained a member until his death.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 8 July 2015:

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Mighty class-based 'NO' shakes bosses' EU

Socialist Party news and analysis

Cuts for us, handouts for rich

Terrorism and classroom spying

Janner case: more establishment child abuse cover-ups

Stop hammering low-paid - 10 an hour now!

ESA under the cosh

Low-income tenants face rent hikes

Them & Us

Socialist Party features

NSSN conference 2015: "We could stop austerity in its tracks"

Migrants flee horrors created by capitalism

Socialist Party workplace news

Hospital porters mop up in NHS pay battle triumph

Tube union: why we're striking

Britain's biggest union could reconsider funding Labour after leadership elections

Education under attack! Reports from the front line of the fightback

Yorkshire firefighters demonstrate against crew cuts

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party campaigns

Socialist Party LGBT group plans fightback against attacks and austerity

Bitter fight to save Bitterne walk-in centre continues

Scotland and North-West England hold TUSC conferences

Socialist Party comments and reviews

Why I joined: 'the Socialist Party has given me political confidence'

TV review: Picasso - Portillo's peculiar perspective


Home   |   The Socialist 8 July 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleArt exhibition: 'Unobtania' by Peter Robson

triangleExhibition: Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Art & politics

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Art & Revolution

triangleWhat we saw


triangleThe Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it "fanned the flames of revolt"

triangleLenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas for today

triangleHow the catastrophe of WW1 sparked revolution

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Russian Revolution 1917


triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How can we boot out the Tories

triangleSpanish elections - new upheavals underline need for a revolutionary socialist alternative

triangleWirral Socialist Party: Ireland, Scotland & Spain - national rights and socialism


triangleNewcastle anti-fascist demo

triangleMemorial to working-class fighters who fought fascism

Spanish revolution:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: The Spanish Revolution and Civil War


triangleNottingham Socialist Party: The new right - are they heading towards fascism?


triangleWest London Socialist Party: Lessons of the 1973 military coup in Chile

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments



Going viral - Socialist comments and letters



Obituary: Rob Crabb



Going viral: letters to the editors


Upton Sinclair

The Jungle: capitalism's remorseless attack on workers' safety and conditions



Going Viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis



Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis



TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?



Going viral: Socialist comments and letters



Going viral: Socialist comments and letters



Going viral: Socialist comments on the corona crisis


Socialist Party

Labour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on



Going viral



Going viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis



Going viral: Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis



TV: Noughts and Crosses

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020