Dove, 1949 by Pablo Picasso

Picasso's image of a dove, first produced in 1949, became one of the best-known icons of international peace when it was adopted as the symbol for the First World Peace Congress organized by the Communist Party. Ironically, the original lithograph represented a pigeon, not a dove. Nor was it intended to symbolize peace. However, when shown Picasso's lithograph, Louis Aragon (1897-1982), an influential member of the French Communist Party, instantly adopted this 'dove' as a symbol for the peace movement.

The image adorned posters promoting the Congress and was widely reproduced throughout the world. Picasso, it seems, was more than happy for his pigeon to become a dove. The detailed, realistic nature of the work served the Communist peace movement well. Not only did the name of Picasso enhance its prestige, but the work also conformed to the more realistic approach to art supported by the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. Over the next few years Picasso produced countless more doves in a variety of styles, including the famous Dove of Peace, all of which confirmed his credentials as an advocate of international peace.