These Incredible Works Of Art Were Saved By The Real-Life 'Monuments Men' Of WWII
The new George Clooney film "The Monuments Men" movie pales in comparison to the real art historians, architects, curators, and museum directors who saved Europe's finest art during World War II.
These men and women were civilians who were launched into a deadly war and tasked with saving an entire culture.
It was well-known that Adolf Hitler was hoarding Europe's plundered art for his planned Führer Museum in Linz, Austria. In addition to stealing Europe's paintings and sculptures, he also intended to destroy "degenerate" works of art that he despised from both Jewish and modern artists.
So Francis Henry Taylor, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, lobbied Washington D.C. to protect Europe's museums and art. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed, and established the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program in 1943. The goal: to recover and return works of art that had been stolen and hidden by the Nazis.
Despite extraordinary odds, this team of art experts were highly successful. Because of their efforts, more than five million works of art were saved or discovered in Nazi hiding places, many of which are still immensely famous today.
Here are 11 of the most amazing paintings, sculptures, and architecture that were rescued or recovered during history's greatest treasure hunt.
Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa"
Jan van Eyck's "Ghent Altarpiece"
Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper"
Michelangelo's "Madonna of Bruges"
Leonardo da Vinci's "Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine)"
Édouard Manet's "In The Conservatory"
The Bust of Charlemagne
Johannes Vermeer's "The Astronomer"
Original manuscript of Ludvig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 6
Rembrandt's "Self-portrait, 1645"
Florence's Medieval Architecture
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