Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Rape of Europa Response

Stephanie Campbell
ARTH 480
The Rape of Europa Response
               This film, or documentary, was very well organized, thanks to Lynn H. Nicholas, and the many art historians that narrated the plots of time across the war. I enjoyed the original footage from the instances that they would describe, and the survivors telling their lives’ stories. I found it amazing how much art was involved in the politics of the Nazi party, something that my high school history classes definitely left out.
               I recall the discovery of Hitler having been an art student, and a rejected one at that, and being astonished. It can blow you away to know what a leader like Hitler has done to the world, but there is a strange negative feeling that arises from the realization that he loved art and wanted to be an artist. That same goal that I have for myself is something that I can understand to have resentment for in not being acknowledged, however never to the degree that he took it. The world somehow became a playground for the boys that grew up with severe insecurities, and held a reign of power.
               The objectification of artwork as money-making history is already a practice that museums could say practice sternly. However, if one is to be selfish, one is selfish for their family or community. Hitler and his generals were labeled by the works they had stolen in their private collection, and this is just disgusting.
               The section on Deane Keller and the efforts he and the MFAA activists put forth are much more interesting that the film of the monuments men, because Deane did make such a difference just on his own, whereas in the Monuments Men, the group effort was emphasized, which is strange considering their group was so small.
               The story of the Castle in Monte Cassino is horrendous in that the perspectives of whether or not to attack due to a building and a growing number of bodies is one thing, but not having clear Intel and getting frustrated and bombing the only shelter in the enemy’s side is not a widely approved tactic either. The imagery of the aftermath is more daunting than most other pictures I saw.

               I enjoyed the conclusion of the film, with the recovered works and return to their rightful owners as a good end note. The number of missing or unrecovered works is not quite specified, and though an estimate as to how much is gone is not made, an approximation was a piece of information that I was looking forward to hearing.

1 comment:

  1. One other thing that I wanted to mention was that I have always found art to be such a beautiful thing, truly an aspect to life that I know I could not be happy without. But the thing that bothered me the most was that the definition of art has changed, historically, because of this massacre. What I mean by this, is that religious objects and paintings from private collections that were perhaps from family and only to family, were exchanged in the mess of the theft, and had that never happened, I feel that the defining characteristics of fine art would be much more stringent; parallel to traditions and separations of culture. The confusions and intermingling of artworks that were not quite intended to be revealed to the public, at least not for many generations, has created an accepted system in which museums across the world, have works from other countries and cultures that they might not ever have had. My question is, do you think that the trading and loaning of works from across the world would be as much of a common practice today, had this not happened? I feel that the world's various museums would still be displaying more art from their own heritage works, though the argument could be made that perhaps museums would be trading and exchanging works more, had not such a violent and distrustful experience happened. What do you think???