Skip to comments.The True Story of the Monuments Men
Posted on 02/09/2014 9:04:29 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
Captain Robert Posey and Pfc. Lincoln Kirstein were the first through the small gap in the rubble blocking the ancient salt mine at Altausee, high in the Austrian Alps in 1945 as World War II drew to a close in May 1945. They walked past one sidechamber in the cool damp air and entered a second one, the flames of their lamps guiding the way.
There, resting on empty cardboard boxes a foot off the ground, were eight panels of The Adoration of the Lamb by Jan van Eyck, considered one of the masterpieces of 15th-century European art. In one panel of the altarpiece, the Virgin Mary, wearing a crown of flowers, sits reading a book.
"The miraculous jewels of the Crowned Virgin seemed to attract the light from our flickering acetylene lamps," Kirstein wrote later. "Calm and beautiful, the altarpiece was, quite simply, there."
Kirstein and Posey were two members of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the Allies, a small corps of mostly middle-aged men and a few women who interrupted careers as historians, architects, museum curators and professors to mitigate combat damage. They found and recovered countless artworks stolen by the Nazis.
(Excerpt) Read more at smithsonianmag.com ...
All in all, I think the movie of the same name did a credible job of portraying this remarkable page of history.
Ping for the Smithsonian view of this event.
"Adoration of the Mystic Lamb," also known as the Ghent Altarpiece, by Jan van Eyck was one of the most notable works found in the Altausse mine. (Wikicommons)
Ancients plunder PING
very cool..I don’t like those main actors, but I still will see the movie for the real brave men’s sake!
Unidentified G.I. holding a painting of the Madonna and Child, at Altaussee, Austria, 1945. Annotations by Lt. Cdr. Thomas Carr Howe on the verso of the photograph: "Altaussee, Summer 1945. A G.I. holding a Sch. of Leonardo da Vinci [Madonna and Child] taken to Görings fury from Monte Cassino. He rejected this painting and many others when they were presented to him by members of his air force. It was not proper to loot the holdings of an ally (Italy). Curious morality!" (Thomas Carr Howe papers, Archives of American Art)
just saw the movie - very good.
The real story here is that the Americans saved these works of art and RETURNED them to their rightful owners whenever possible. What other country RETURNS plunder to its owners? That has always been the US badge of honor. We don’t keep conquered lands, and we don’t keep stolen valuables. At least, that is what I was taught.
The movie was a good depiction, all in all.
I don’t like the slate of liberal pukes starring in it either. I’m going to wait for them to come on my DirectV premium channels or to Netflix. No theater or DVD/BRD for me - not for them.
The movie looks interesting. We don’t go to the movies much, but we’ll get it from Netflix.
Ha! Dude, you gotta qualify that remark and make it Military-only or something like that.
This government plunders our wealth and futures DAILY, they steal your blood, sweat and tears daily to give it to leeches and line their pockets.
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I don’t know about the rest of the Italian stuff, but the pieces from Monte Cassino were saved through one of the few civilized acts of the Wehrmacht. Kesselring and the local commander Von Senger prompted and assisted the Augustinian monks in evacuating the art and archives of the abbey, as it was in the front line and at risk of destruction, and it was in fact destroyed. But much if not all its valuable contents were saved.
I Just saw the movie. TOTAL WASTE OF TIME
Shirley, you jest :)
I thought the movie was horrible. What a boring and disjointed way of telling what could have been a very interesting story.
I think the movie was somewhere in the "decent to good," range, but a little better screenwriting could have taken it to the, "very good to excellent" range.
In spite of the liberal assemblage in the cast, I think there was an almost unwitting theme of the value and worth of preserving the signs and symbols of western civilization. I was quite surprised to see Catholic priests presented in a somewhat heroic light and the Soviets in a less than flattering one.
As an aside, this month marks the 45th anniversary of the original broadcast of Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation series which first aired on the BBC from February - May 1969.
Clark was appointed director of the British National Gallery at the age of 30, and was instrumental in overseeing the cataloging and relocation of the collection to country homes and other locations during the blitz.
I can highly recommend the Civilisation series for anybody who has not seen it: art history the way it should be taught.
Thank you, Joe.
I agree with all you say.
Where is the fat guy?
What part, if any, does the collection of religious art at The Cloisters have in all of this?
My comment was merely with respect to the post above concerning the painting marked as being from Monte Cassino.
My husband and I saw the movie Friday night. We really enjoyed it and are glad we went to see it.
Good article. Now I won’t have to consider suffering through yet another ClooneyDamon “I love me” bomb.
either, buttttt, hes having my baby
Speaking of western culture, we’re fast losing what little remains of that which so many have died to try to preserve. And it appears many more lives will be lost if we’re to save what’s left — if we can.
And, no, this is NOT off topic.
WOMAN’S LIB AND ISLAM
I remember seeing a few episodes of the Civilisation series many years ago. I wonder if Netflix has them.
All 13 episodes are on youtube :-)
Honesty and trustworthiness are the hallmarks of both great people and nations. We now live in the Age of Distrust. What does that tell you?
I will not go to see this movie because of the leftist actors who spout out their leftist dribble at us.
You will miss a very good (not great) movie that has no apparent leftism in it.
Me neither. I don't care how great a movie is, I will not subsidize these leftist/Marxist, America hating actors and entertainment companies with my hard earned $$$$.
I am doing my part to starve the beast by not subsidizing these filthy America hating actors and entertainment companies - more conservatives and like minded American Patriots need to do the same, to really put a financial hurt on these anti-American actors and entertainment companies and send them a loud, financial message they will hear loud and clear!!!
The Army organized the European Civil Affairs Division (ECAD) to run the occupation of Germany and oversee local government. Part of their mission was also to seize and secure art and historical artifacts. IIRC, they recovered quite a bit of stuff.
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