Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rape of Europa

This film impacts Art History to a large extent. World War Two is the biggest war to date. Everyone knows the story of the intense gun battles going on all across Europe. But not too many know the story of Hitler and the Nazi party stealing cultural art and keeping it for themselves. The Rape of Europa tells the story of World War Two from the art’s perspective. The movie goes into depth about Hitler’s plans of opening a grand museum using stolen art from cultures all across Europe.
The film helped me realize the struggles that people had to go through, in order to keep art with cultural value safe from the Nazi’s. It blows my mind that paintings that did get stolen are still extremely valuable to that country, even today. There are legal battles still being fought to whom the stolen art belongs to. It’s hard to believe that a country who stole a piece of art from another country, will not give the art back after all these years. It goes against our moral code. The art is being kept as a trophy of a serious event that happened in the past. These paintings were highly valued paintings during the time of the war. These paintings were on Hitler’s target list because of the value and status that they carried.
Another reason why this topic is a great topic of Art History because of how sought after the paintings were. Hitler had plans of what countries he was going to take over, and attached to those plans were plans for which cultural pieces were to be stolen for his museum. The means of getting ahold of theses pieces were to destroy entire cities block by block. Eliminating anything that had to do with the culture of whom lived there. He was ultimately killing off entire races in order to be supreme.
The really cool part of World War Two and how Art History was involved was that the U.S. Army had troops that were in charge of protecting the Cultural Artifacts of these countries that were getting attacked by Hitler. The U.S. knew that these artifacts were extremely important to the people. They made sure that bombs were not dropped on structures that were of cultural value. This won the hearts of a lot of the countries. The sector of the army that was involved in this was called the Monuments Men. These guys were going to battle zones and finding art that was hidden and returning it back to the owners. Towards the end of the war, the Monuments Men were in charge of hunting down the large stashes of art that were stolen for the Generals of the Nazi party and even for Hitler himself. The Monuments Men were slowly finding the stashes of paintings stolen from galleries all across Europe. The Monuments Men discovered all of the Worlds famous paintings that I see on display today. Painting stolen from the Louvre and paintings that were slowly stolen away by Gurrings were discover and returned back to France.
This movie was a great movie. It really got me thinking about the history of the famous paintings. It went into great depth of the stories that follow the world famous paintings. It’s great to know that Holly Wood is taking a stab at Art History and making a movie about it. I feel that this doesn’t happen often. Art is such a big part of human life. It’s pretty cool that they are still making movies about it. I look forward to going and seeing this movie very soon.

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