Sunday, February 23, 2014
I loved Monuments Men...
Earlier, I watched The Monuments Men and I didn't expect that I would love it so much.
I had an idea on what the movie was about, but it was only when I watched the movie that I fully understood the magnitude of how epic the true story on which the movie was based on was.
Referred to as the greatest treasure hunt of history, the Monuments Men tells the story of the efforts of the allied nations to rescue cultural artefacts stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
In real life, the "Monuments Men" was a group of about 345 men and women from thirteen nations. They comprised the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section during World War II. From what I read, the group was composed of museum directors, curators, art historians, artists, architects, and educators who all shared one mission - to protect monuments and other cultural treasures from the destruction of World War II.
In this interesting article, it names a few of the pieces that were rescued during the operation. Thanks to these men and women, the world can still see Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, Michelangelo’s “Madonna of Bruges,” Édouard Manet’s “In The Conservatory” and Rembrandt’s “Self-portrait, 1645″.
It was only while watching the movie that it occurred to me that yeah, thank god someone thought of rescuing these priceless pieces during the war. When nations are fighting and people are dying, art is probably the last thing on many people's minds.
However, one takeaway that I got from the film and I'm sure from the story of the real Monuments Men is this: art is part of a nation's history. It is the nation. Societies will rise again. Nations will be rehabilitated. But these cultural pieces, once gone, are forever gone.
I can't imagine Juan Luna's Spoliarium being stolen or worse, burnt. I shudder at the thought of paintings by Anita Magsaysay-Ho or BenCab being destroyed. I cringe at the thought of a UP Oblation with a missing head or arm.
The movie seems to have been getting mixed to negative reviews. Still, it is worth seeing. If the movie twisted a few things about the real story, I'm quite sure it's not as bad as what the producers of Pompeii did. Hehe!
Now, I'm curious if I should skip Brussels and just go to Bruges and Ghent. Hmmm...