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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.

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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


 

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