A ban on taking photographs of Picasso’s anti-war painting Guernica (1937) has been lifted by the Reina Sofía Museum’s new director, Manuel Segade, the Times of London reported last week. Image restrictions have been in place for more than 30 years.
Guernica, which shows the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War, was acquired by the Spanish Republic from Picasso in 1937. The painting stayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art for the duration of World War II, per the artist’s request, and subsequently returned to Spain in 1981. It was housed at the Prado Museum until 1992, when it was transferred to the Reina Sofía.
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The ban has been lifted since the beginning of this month. Museum officials hope that it will help speed up the flow of traffic within the institution and reach a younger audience.
Last summer, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger had his own private viewing of Guernica while the museum was closed, during which time he was permitted to take a photograph of the painting.
For decades, visitor photography has been a hotly debated issue. Some say that it can cause damage to unprotected works and that is not a substitute for experiencing works firsthand.