Favorite 2017 Books: No. 5

Favorite 2017 Reads No. 5

Number Five on this list takes us back to the Spanish Civil War and another interest of mine, art history.

During a visit to Spain this fall, we rented an apartment for a week. In a get-to-know-you chat with the landlord, I told her a bit about NOT IN TIME. She pulled a book off the shelf in the apartment and said, “You might enjoy this.”

She was right! In Picasso’s War, Russell Martin pulls together art history and politics to tell the story of Guernica, regarded as the greatest modernist work of art. The writing is conversational and accessible for non-experts.

I went into it knowing a bit about the painting, but I had no idea it had been created so quickly, nor did I know about the fraught negotiations over its return to Spain and where it would be displayed.

Later in our trip, we drove through the town of Guernica. It’s very pretty – you can’t tell it was leveled by bombs in the 1930s. We also saw the painting itself at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. The scale of it is hard to comprehend.

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