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Le Drapeau noir [The Black Flag] 1937

Not on display

'The Black Flag' may refer to the German bombing of the small Spanish town of Guernica in April 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Magritte later wrote that the picture 'gave a foretaste of the terror which would come from flying machines, and I am not proud of it.' In contrast to artists who praised technology, Magritte was showing that machines have their darker side. Looking closely at the planes, one can see that they are made of a variety of strange shapes. The plane on the bottom right has a long, curtained window where its wings should be.

Glossary Open

Spanish Civil War

A war in Spain that began following an uprising in Morocco in 1936. It was fought between the Republicans and the Nationalists, led by General Franco, who declared victory in 1939, and remained as head of state until his death in 1975. The bombing of the town of Guernica on 26 April 1937 was the subject of a major painting by Pablo Picasso.

Spanish Civil War


  • Acc. No. GMA 1261
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 54.20 x 73.70 cm (framed: 65.00 x 84.50 x 6.50 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1972