Monday, April 11, 2016

Monuments Men and Munch

The movie recommendation this week is "The Monuments Men". It has a great cast and is based on real life events. The real life Monuments Men went out to recover art that was stolen by the Nazis. You could probably think of it like real life Indiana Jones but with less fortune and glory.  The Nazis were losing the war and they certainly weren't just going to give up the locations where they hid all of the art they plundered. With actors like John Goodman and Bill Murray in this movie there was some humor involved which made it nice because there were some pretty heavy scenes.  Opening a barrel and thinking you've found a fortune in gold but then realise it's a barrel full of gold teeth.  It is a little glamorized of course, it is a movie after all. The one downfall was that the movie only slightly touched on the importance of getting the work back and more important, getting it back to the rightful owners. It's entertaining and worth watching.  Here are a few links for more information about the Monuments Men
Edvard Munch by Isabella Alston 
Speaking of stolen artwork. Stolen art and the efforts to recover it fascinates me to no end. Who steals it, why and what will they do with it? They can't really brag about their stolen Munch because then everyone will know they stole it. When The Scream was stolen in 2004 it shocked me. I really like that painting and I was having a conversation with someone about the theft and their response was, is it really such a loss? They obviously don't care for the painting. This book isn't very long, you could call it the Reader's Digest version of his life followed by pictures and descriptions of his work. Some bits I found interesting, Munch was originally going to school to be an engineer and was very good at math, physics and chemistry but gave it up for art. Critics compared his early works to that of Manet, one of my favourites. Even though the Nazis labeled Munch's art as "degenerate" they stole 82 of his paintings from German museums. Then there's this quote of his, "Art is the antithesis of nature".  I'm not sure what he meant by that but it's a good conversation starter. What do you think he meant?


  1. I wonder if his comment reflected the attitude of his time - especially with a European science education background. Nature was seen as random and and evolution as the product of chance. Design and purpose were viewed as human attributes and the notion of a "Designer" had been jettisoned in intellectual circles. Which, ironically, should have endeared him to the Nazis.

  2. I'll buy that. Much like the painting I posted the other day where I edited some things out from what was really there. To humanzie the scene is a bit unnatural I s'pose. Removing things to make it more pleasing for human eyes to appreciate it. Then throw in the Nazis ideal and you open up quite a few cans of worms.
    My first thought was more of a philosophical one, which made his quote difficult to interpret. Art and nature, to me, go hand in hand, but combine the two thoughts together and you have a modern version of yin and yang.