Spanish confectioners have joined forces to create a massive choccy copy of Pablo Picasso’s famous 1937 anti-war painting ‘Guernica’.
Around 500 kilogrammes of chocolate were used to recreate the famous painting, showing the suffering of people and animals during the bombing of Guernica on 26th April 1937 in the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
The bombing was carried out on the orders of Francisco Franco’s rebel Nationalist faction by Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion and the Italian Aviazione Legionaria under the code name ‘Operation Rugen’.
The bombing campaign led to Franco capturing the Basque city of Bilbao and claiming victory in northern Spain.
The replica is similar in size to the original Picasso painting which is exhibited at the Reina Sofia art museum in Madrid.
Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ measures 7.77 metres in width and 3.49 metres in height. The chocolate copy is 7.50 metres wide and 3.5 metres tall.
Lorena Gomez, 41, president of the Basque Federation of Sweet Artisan Gastronomy, told Real Press that the replica is currently exhibited in a special temperature-controlled room in Guernica and will travel to exhibition centres all over Spain as well as in Germany and France.
Gomez said: “It is a world famous painting with a message of suffering and history linked to the Basque Country.”
Pastry chefs and chocolatiers from different parts of the Basque Country worked with over 500 kilogrammes of white, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate for 13 days between 9th and 21st April.
Gomez told Real Press: “We used different kinds of chocolate, of the three varieties, to create the same tonality of the original.
She also said the copy was difficult to produce due to the large amount of chocolate, adding: “We had to divide the painting into 14 different parts around 1.7 metres wide and 1.1 metres tall.”
Once all the parts were finished, they had to be taken to the exhibition room about 110 kilometres from where they worked.
Garcia said they had to create special boxes to transport the panels to their destination.
The team then set up the panels to make a finished copy of the Picasso painting.
Garcia, who has worked in the chocolate industry for over 20 years, said the end result was “emotional”, adding: “This painting changed all of us, it is beautiful how we all worked together.”
The chocolate artwork will tour Spain and other European countries, but will eventually need to be disposed of without being eaten.
Garcia told Real Press: “The chocolate cannot be eaten as it has suffered a lot of temperature change and is gathering dust.”
She added: “It will be hard to break it up as it took a lot of work to do.”
Through this project, the federation wanted to show that the confectionary industry is not the “poor sister of gastronomy” and should be considered as creative as other disciplines.
The Basque Country is considered one of the most important gastronomical regions in Spain.
However, Garcia said the COVID-19 pandemic has hit gastronomy particularly hard but the sweets sector has not suffered as much as other sectors.
She said: “There was a change of habits, a lot of people bought chocolate and baking goods during the lockdown, and throughout the pandemic, customers have returned to buying tradition patisserie goods.”
The President of the Basque Government said that no patisserie businesses have had to close during the pandemic.