For Picasso’s Birthday, a Guernica Made of Legos

Lego Picasso 2
Picasso’s Guernica made of Lego bricks by Veronica Watson. (Photo: Legoland Discovery Center Westchester)

Today marks the 133rd anniversary of Picasso‘s birth, and while some will celebrate by taking in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s spellbinding show of Leonard Lauder‘s Cubist collection, others will admire the artist’s famous Guernica—recreated in Legos in Yonkers. The blocky birthday tribute is the work of Veronica Watson, a master model builder at Legoland Discovery Center Westchester. It took her a couple of days and 800 Legos to create the replica, which is seven inches tall and just under fifteen inches wide, but little convincing: Guernica is one of her favorite Picasso works. “The style used to represent the chaotic subject matter of the Spanish Civil War makes it an incredibly powerful piece in 1937 and in 2014,” Watson told us, before answering a few of our questions about her Lego homage.

What was the most challenging aspect of making a Lego version of Guernica?
The most difficult aspect of making the Lego version was deciding how much detail to include. There is a lot going on in the painting. Rather then explicitly recreating every detail, I worked at suggesting the right forms so that the painting would be instantly recognizable.

As you were working, were there aspects of the painting that particularly surprised you?
When you are trying to recreate something with Lego bricks, the limitations of the medium force you to look more carefully at the original. In this case, it was a lot of fun to explore the really dynamic nature of Cubism. I was surprised at how the painting really lent itself to a sculptured rather than being confined to a flat surface. Many shapes and lines in the painting, became recessions and layers in the Lego model.

Any other famous works of art or design that you’d like to make out of Legos?
I would absolutely love to recreate other works of art or architecture in LEGO bricks. I haven’t picked out my next project yet; however, some sort of Lego ode to Mies van der Rohe is high on my list.