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Picasso & Nuclear Politics

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Brian Christopher Glaser writes about Pablo Picasso’s Rape of the Sabine Women, painted in reaction to the Cuban Missle Crisis. The painting is now on view at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, Boston, MA.

Glaser writes: “Distressed by what was unfolding and no stranger to war (he operated a studio in Paris during the German occupation of the city), Picasso contacted a friend in the city and asked for slides of two masterpieces – Nicolas Poussin’s Abduction of the Sabine Women and Jacques-Louis David’s Intervention of the Sabine Women. Over the next four months Picasso projected the slides on the walls of his studio and worked on three small paintings depicting the fabled tale before starting his 4th and final in the series. The large 6 by 4 foot canvass, Rape of the Sabine Women—now on view at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and museum—stands as Picasso’s last great “history painting” and outcry against the atrocities of war.”

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