Che Guevara’s iconic photograph -an intriguing subject for artists

Argentine revolutionary- Che Guevara’s iconic photograph taken by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda has been stylized in numerous ways by many artists. The photograph is arguably the ultimate symbol of revolution and youth rebellion, it is considered to be the most popular photograph of 20th century.

Alberto Korda who photographed the iconic image of the rebel fighter. Image source-

Guevara with his complex persona made an intriguing subject for many artists – Robin Hood like rogue figure who fought for the downtrodden, a compassionate physician, an intellect philosopher who envisioned a utopian society and a martyr who died with the famous badass last words “Shoot me, you coward! you are only going to kill a man.(not his ideals)”

Below is the image as reproduced by Jim Fitzpatrick. He added subtle changes’ to the original image, raised the eyes a little which gave Guevara a saintly look and added more hair since in 60’s and 70’s long hair was considered a mark of rebellion. The original photograph was taken at a memorial service, Che’s expressions have a fine mix of fury and tenderness. In Koradas words “I was drawn to photograph Che Guevara at that particular moment because his facial expression showed ‘absolute implacability’ as well as anger and pain.”

The image as reproduced in a painting by Andy Warhol.

Che’s iconic style depicted very artistically in matches art by artist David Mach. Image source-

It’s easy to relate rebel and revolution with Che, a person who died for a cause he believed in. Che’s mono chrome image continues to be used as an emblem for social uprising and rebelliousness in numerous way: posters for protest rallies, T-shirt’s worn by teenagers, street art and Graffiti, revolutionary ad campaign’s etc…

A large artistic Che statue in Oleiros, Spain.

A mural of Che Guevara faces in Granada, Nicaragua. Image source (

Workers wearing Che Guevara shirts rally to demand better working conditions, Jakarta. Image source-

A vast version of the image, reduced to steel outlines, hangs in Havana’s Revolution Square.