The Dove of Peace




The Face of Peace

Pablo Picasso was a socially and politically engaged artist during the Cold Ward in the 1940’s. It is when his idea of the Dove came into action. The Dove for Picasso was a meaningful symbol since it took him back to his childhood when his father painted doves and put them in their home. He developed the idea of the dove and made it personal to himself. One piece of his work called A Child with a Dove got placed on a card in 1949 by the Committee of the International Journal of Women for Peace, which related closely to the peace and the suffering of women and children in wars.

The words they wrote,

‘10 million dead 1914-1918. 40 million dead 1939-45 plus millions of children and millions of lives torn apart.’ 

I feel that the words that the Committee chose to put on the card was very powerful and it got the message across, but also it made Picasso’s imagery have more of an importance about the idea of peace. At that particular time it was the First World War and anxiety levels where running high. The way Picasso was working closely to what was going off around him, allowed him to share his idea of peace by spreading the symbol of the dove to create harmony.

The Dove

The Dove with an Olive Branch

The symbol of the dove has the representation to the spirit of God in the Hebrew Bible, but it also comes from the story of Noah in the flood story of Genesis 6-9. Noah sent out a dove three times to see if the flood was dying down and it was the second time when he knew Gods punishment had finished because the dove brought back an olive branch. The last time the dove didn’t return and Noah knew it was safe to leave the boat. It is why an image of a dove holding an olive branch is a symbol of peace. The symbol of a dove is throughout many religions linking to peace, so it shows that it has a powerful meaning that Picasso was portraying in which the different religions could also relate to.

Picasso had Louis Aragon to help give him advice when it came to using an image for the World Peace Congress institution poster which was going to be placed in Paris, 1949. Aragon also noticed the potential and meaningfulness of the image of the dove as a symbol of the Peace Movement and he then took the lithograph away and by 5pm the image was on the walls of the Paris streets.

The cold war developed and the peace symbol of the dove became more meaningful with the connotations of freedom. Picasso carried on with developing the Dove concept and produced more work for majority of Europe.


Resig . D (2013) [WWW] Available from : 

Morris, L. Grunenberg, C. (ed.) (2010 first publish, Tate) Picasso, Peace and Freedom.


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