Civil War Poster, 39

Unknown. Signed by1937 - 1938

Museo Reina Sofia

Museo Reina Sofia
Madrid, Spain

The Civil War was one of the first military conflicts to be heavily influenced by the mass media. Between 1936 and 1939, over one thousand posters and pasquinades were printed in Spain. The Republican posters of the Civil War were graphic evidence of the connections existing among the international avant-gardes of the 1920s and 1930s. Most of the manifestations opted for realism, both political and expressive, in response to the dramatic situation brought about by the conflict. Artists began a search for a formal repertory that would, above all else, create a strong emotional impact.

In this poster, Franco appears as a skeleton in uniform (with the corresponding swastika, Prussian helmet, cape and sword), as a representation of Death itself. At his side, three tiny figures are holding the cape. This is the famous triad of Republican and worker imagery: the military man, the bourgeois figure and the "trabucaire" priest, with an appearance that suggests mockery, in contrast to the terror inspired by the first figure, of colossal dimensions. The poster communicates graphically that the classic powers of capitalism have found a defender in fascism. Fascism and war are thus linked to one another and the message is clear: the latter was caused by the former, and by those who want to prevent, at whatever cost, any steps being taken toward a democratic and egalitarian society.


  • Title: Civil War Poster, 39
  • Creator: Unknown. Signed by
  • Date Created: 1937 - 1938
  • Style: Graphic art
  • Provenance: Private Collection
  • Physical Dimensions: w700 x h1000 mm
  • Original Title: Cartel Guerra Civil, 39
  • Type: Photolithography
  • Medium: Photolithography

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