Earlier this week, I asked my Facebook friends to tell me the best documentary they’d ever seen. Originally, I just wanted suggestions for films to show in class, but then I got really interested in watching them all. The lovely DLF suggested The Rape of Europa, and it was then seconded by Sister Dallas, so I figured it was as good a place to start as any. With my handy-dandy new Netflix account, I queued it right on up, and in the mail it came.
And now I’m slightly obsessed.
It’s the story of how the Nazis stole, looted and plundered great works of art from all over Europe as they expanded their empire, and how, in fact, the countries they invaded were related to a “hit list” of art pieces Hitler wanted either for his personal collection or the national collection he was attempting to amass. The film shows how museums and gallery owners hid (or tried to hide) their art, how they were successful or not, and how some of them got and are still getting paintings back.
It’s really fascinating, and it has inspired me to start imagining a European art tour wherein I would travel to major European cities to see the most important works living there. On the list so far, I have the Louvre, the Orsay, the Vatican, the Uffizi, the Prado and the Hermitage. I also want to hit up Prague, Cracow, Brussels and Berlin. That’s nine cities, so this is perhaps a 2-3-week tour. Any takers?
I also have rough plans for a European spy tour wherein I play out James Bond plots, and a Sound of Music tour in which I spin around singing in the Alps. I think the spy tour might take a week or two, and the Sound of Music one might only take about three days. If you’re up for any of these, do let me know so we can start planning in earnest.