Picasso’s painting memorializes the bombing of a Basque town during the Spanish Civil War that killed several hundred civilians. At the time the incident shocked the world.
Eight years later, 70,000 people, the large majority women and children, were incinerated when a single bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. A roughly equal number died in the following months.
Now days are dragon-ridden, the nightmare
Rides upon sleep: a drunken soldiery
Can leave the mother, murdered at her door,
To crawl in her own blood, and go scot-free;
The night can sweat with terror as before
We pieced our thoughts into philosophy,
And planned to bring the world under a rule,
Who are but weasels fighting in a hole.
— Yeats, 1919 —