In the movie “The Rape of Europa,” the first scene started off with a 1922 Picasso painting in an auction, which ended up being sold for a little over six million dollars. In one of the first auctions this painting was in, it sold for only $1,800. This auction was part of a campaign to rid Germany’s artwork that Nazis condemned. I believe this scene was shown to show how Hitler perjured art that he hated, and how he didn’t think twice about anyone/anything else but himself. The author of this movie promoted how hard people worked to keep artwork safe during the war and didn’t give up on the restoration of everything at the end of the war.
Nazis weren’t just the biggest mass murderers of history; they were also the greatest thieves. They stole paintings, sculptures, furniture, religious objects, and more. The war destroyed much architecture as well. When the bombs in Florence were being dropped though, they missed all of the exquisite monuments there. Lost art is still being found, battle damage is still being repaired, and stolen masterpieces are still being disputed in many other places. Hitler said, “We will from now on lead an unrelenting war of purification, an unrelenting war of extermination against the last forces which have displaced our art. My Grandma grew up in Rome, Italy while this was all going on.
When Hitler came to Rome to look at the artwork there, she was young, but remembers everything occurring. I visit Italy not too long ago, and I went to many museums and saw so much beautiful artwork. If I grew up while all of this was taking place, I would contribute to the restoration of everything, especially if I lived in one of the places where many things were taken/destroyed. I can’t imagine being the artist of this artwork and having Hitler just auction it away for either very little or nothing.
I believe that this was very wrong and heartless. The quote Hitler stated in the beginning of this paragraph made him start auctions in the best German museums. Artists such as Matisse, Van Gogh, and Picasso had their art auctioned away. Hitler then created The House of German Art, in Munich, Germany. It was a museum for new factious art. Even in Poland, the Altarpiece of Veit Stoss was hidden in the country sides, so that the Nazis wouldn’t find it, but of course eventually it was tracked down and it was shipped to Berlin. At the end of the war, the restoration of the frescos began.
Many people contributed to this because of how much they were hurt after everything happened and everyone wanted everything fixed so badly. If I could have helped bring back artwork like the artwork I saw in Italy, I would do it in a heartbeat. And now I understand why people were so willing to work towards the restoration of everything. Seeing things from the author’s perspective changed my viewpoint on this class. Every work of art has a story to tell. Thousands of artwork is still unaccounted for, but more are sure to resurface in years to come.