UN officials have covered up a reproduction of Pablo Picasso's "Guernica" that was donated by
Nelson A. Rockefeller, and has hung outside the UN headquarters for nearly 20 years. Created in 1937, this painting is probably the most famous anti-war expression in the history of modern art — and has been temporarily covered with a baby-blue banner that bears the U.N. logo.
"It is, we think, we hope, only temporary," said Faustino Diaz Fortuny, a Spanish envoy whose government owns the original painting.
U.N. officials said last week that it is more appropriate for dignitaries to be photographed in front of the blue backdrop and some flags than the impressionist image of shattered villagers and livestock.
The drapes were installed last Monday and Wednesday — the days the council discussed Iraq — and came down Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, when the subjects included Afghanistan and peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and Western Sahara.
So when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell enters the council Wednesday to present evidence of Iraq's acquisition of mobile biological weapons labs and terrorism ties, he will walk in front of flags that wouldn't look out of place in the auditorium of a high school gymnasium.