Friday, July 11, 2014

The Monuments Men

"The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person." - Abraham Lincoln

I've often heard Christians around me describe God as an artist, and I agree with this notion, because of the creation of nature, and the vast differences in peoples characters and the list goes on. But only recently I've been impressed with a refreshed outlook of this insight of my creators character.

Earlier this year a movie was released with some big names featured in it, this blog is titled similarly. It stirred some interest as to what this film was about, and I've recently done some research into it. The Monuments Men (who I knew nothing about) are heroes from World War II, not so much in the sense of the number of soldiers they added to their kill count or saved on the battle field, but for a strangely unique battle, making them heroes in their own right. 

The film hovers around 5 characters, however the Monuments Men in reality were made up of roughly 345 men and women from 13 different nations.

"Many were museum directors, curators, art historians, artists, architects, and educators. Together they worked to protect monuments and other cultural treasures from the destruction of World War II."  (

These people could see the the utmost importance of preserving historical art. In learning more about these people, I had to try and understand why they were willing to put their lives on the line (and some did lose their lives for the cause) for the purpose of art. I didn't really appreciate classical works of art from the likes of Michelangelo, Leornado Da Vinci, Picasso, Van Gogh etc. I did a little bit of art back in high school, and honestly the way the teacher harped on about these artists didn't make an impression on me. But I've since learned a lesson about art from the Monuments Men. 

They describe art as markers on human history. How human beings of that time interpreted their surroundings, experiences and emotions onto canvas, ceilings of chapels and so on, giving us an intrinsic insight via visual media rather than reading literature and imposing our own personal experiences into the context. Art gives us a full spectrum of how it was, and how it could be, and forms an essential basis for the human culture.

Hitler attempted to steal ALL the famous works of art, in fact there's every likelihood that some of the missing pieces that were never retrieved were destroyed by the Nazi's. And as pathetic and ridiculous as this concept of stealing art in the middle of a World War may appear, the agenda actually makes a lot of sense. Hitler may have been a self-proclaimed aesthete, but I lean towards more of the agenda of trying to strip the world of experiencing our history through artists eyes.....thus, removing the basis of their identity. By doing so, he could've (and I'm certain would've) introduce new forms of art, albeit propaganda, to induce a new identity.

I can't help but draw the parallel of this amazing part WWII history, and the cosmic warfare between God and Satan. In the beginning God created, and in six days He made some amazing pieces. The melody He sung painted on the canvas in the sky, carved mountains out of the earth and  His hands formed the masterpieces of pottery which was the pinnacle of jaw-dropping artistic forms. The Man and the Woman. He married them, put them to work, and the very next day he called it a holiday (holy day).

God's finishing touches points to family, the right context of work, and taking regular time out from work to ensure that relationships with God and family are in check. Namely, the three pieces of God's art that I believe that are being cunningly stolen away from us while we focus on the illusive battle of power, territory and status, is the importance of Marriage, the ethics of good,hard and relevant work, and the Sabbath.

As these areas of our human culture erode, we suddenly find ourselves in a chaotic cycle of making, and breaking families, working to the bone (saying it's for the family) and never taking a break because we can't afford to. And thus, we find ourselves swallowing the propaganda that this world offers us and like me back in high school, have no sensitivity to being impressed with the classical works of our true identity.

Here's the rest of the paragraph from the aforementioned quote "
In the last year of the war, they tracked, located, and in the years that followed returned more than five million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. Their role in preserving cultural treasures was without precedent."
As the theory of evolution permeates into the root of every educational institution, and consumerism becomes a philosophy by default, I realise that this role to track, locate and restore God's art is a mission I'm willing to die for. Where there was no desire for me to look upon structures, paintings and the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, it is now there. I've now been shown the high value that these pieces stand for. I'm willing to put my life on the line for people in this world to see their true value, not because of any natural motive of my own, but because God did it for me. I'm certain there are others out there that are willing and able to take on this mission too. 

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