Mona Lisa and Monuments Men

More lovely jubly booky wookies showed up on Friday morning. The postman rang the bell, but I was still in bed. He just left the parcels on the doorstep. Good thing it wasn't raining, the books would have been soaked through, They only came in a cardboard wrapping, just like the book I received teh last time. Must make a mental note of booksellers SpeedyHen and The Saint Bookstore. And try and avoid shopping with them if at all possible.
Again two more gems waiting to be read. I bought these two because I heard lectures on the books given at the National Gallery of Art in Washington (which were later broadcast as podcasts).

The first one is Mona Lisa in Camelot by Margeret Leslie Davies. It's about the political machinations (especially Jackie Kennedy's efforts) to get France's national treasure (the Mona Lisa) into Washington for an exhibit. Such a gesture at one of the key moments in the sixties is not void of any pejorative meanings. I remember the gist of the book from the lecture Leslie Davies gave at the museum, but I'd rather have a copy here in the house and re-read everything down to the last detail.

The other book is Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel. It's about the MFAA (Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section) of the Western Allied Forces. These people enlisted during World War II, were shipped to Europe to prevent the destruction and disappearance of some of the world's greatest masterpieces. A lot a the art works stolen by the Nazis across the continent were found and returned to their proper owners. But a lot are still missing. Which is an interesting read for an art detective wannabe.
Fun flicking through the pages and seeing a picture of the Madonna Michelangelo made and is still in Bruges today being removed from the salt mine in Altaussee.
The Mona Lisa, just like other works now securely in a museum give us the impression they've been there forever.
Not so. Most cultural property is easy to move and can arouse deep passions within a person (or even an entire nation). Not just in an art loving sense. Sometimes a darker motive for wanting to have a particular piece can cause strange things to happen.

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