Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Monuments Men - preserving art treasures in Italy and Europe during WWII

Just a few days ago I finished reading the book Shadowed by Grace by Cara C. Putman. (Read my review here.) While the plot itself was somewhat mediocre, it did stir my curiosity about the Monuments Men. The story is set in Italy, with a woman photographer assigned to take photos at the front lines, and a lieutenant who is part of the Monument Men, trying to preserve the art treasure and architecture of a country bombed by the Germans.

For some reason I had never heard of the Monument Men before this book, and I was happy to have discovered this group of men who risked their lives because of their love for the beautiful painting, statues and relics that are still with us today because of their efforts and those who worked with them.

After reading this book, I did some research and was thrilled to learn about the movie The Monuments Men, just released last week. The movie is based on Robert M. Edsel's non-fiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, which sparked Putman's idea for Shadowed by Grace. Edsel also wrote Rescuing Da Vinci and Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis.

The movie stars some of my favorite actors and promises to be good. Last summer, I was in Rome and Venice with my family. My eyes feasted on the works of art and I couldn't get enough, even under the scorching July sun. I have always loved architecture, and a stroll in the old city enjoying gelato al cioccolato e nocciola is absolutely divine. Have any of you read these books or seen the movie. If you did, what did you think?

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