Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Joachim Pissarro

Second Advisor

Lynda Klich

Academic Program Adviser

Antonella Pelizzari


In 1988, Eduardo Chillida dedicated his sculpture, Gure Aitaren Etxea, to the victims of the 1937 Spanish Civil War aerial attack on the city of Gernika. This thesis maintains that beyond memorial, the sculpture can be understood as a sacred site and examines the sources of the sculpture’s spiritual dimension, paying particular attention to the work’s underlying Basque influences. Gernika’s cultural significance, the intricacies of the Basque language, and the history of Basque Nationalist ideology are addressed. The paper concludes, however, that while Chillida found great stimulus within his own culture, the sculpture’s ability to serve as refuge, sanctuary, and destination, transcends its specific Basque connotations.



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