The Venus fixers: the remarkable story of the allied soldiers who saved Italy's art during World War II

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Average Rating
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
Pub. Date:
2009.
Language:
English
Description

In 1943, with the world convulsed by war and a Fascist defeat in Europe far from certain, a few visionaries—civilians and soldiers alike—saw past questions of life and death to realize that victory wasn’t the only thing at stake. So was the priceless cultural heritage of thousands of years.In the midst of the conflict, the Allied Forces appointed the monuments officers—a motley group of art historians, curators, architects, and artists—to ensure that the great masterworks of European art and architecture were not looted or bombed into oblivion. The journalist Ilaria Dagnini Brey focuses her spellbinding account on the monuments officers of Italy, quickly dubbed “the Venus Fixers” by bemused troops.Working on the front lines in conditions of great deprivation and danger, these unlikely soldiers stripped the great galleries of their incomparable holdings and sent them into safety by any means they could; when trucks could not be requisitioned or “borrowed,” a Tiepolo altarpiece might make its midnight journey across the countryside balanced in the front basket of a bicycle. They blocked a Nazi convoy of two hundred stolen paintings—including Danae, Titian’s voluptuous masterpiece, an intended birthday present for Hermann Göring.They worked with skeptical army strategists to make sure air raids didn’t take out the heart of an ancient city, and patched up Renaissance palazzi and ancient churches whose lead roofs were sometimes melted away by the savagery of the attacks, exposing their frescoed interiors to the harsh Tuscan winters and blistering summers. Sometimes they failed. But to an astonishing degree, they succeeded, and anyone who marvels at Italy’s artistic riches today is witnessing their handiwork.In the course of her research, Brey gained unprecedented access to private archives and primary sources, and the result is a book at once thorough and grandly entertaining—a revelatory take on a little-known chapter of World War II history. The Venus Fixers is an adventure story with the gorgeous tints of a Botticelli landscape as its backdrop.

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ISBN:
9780374283094
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Grouped Work ID 469f3c8c-defe-3e93-4975-5354e0b1514f
full_title venus fixers the remarkable story of the allied soldiers who saved italys art during world war ii
author brey ilaria dagnini
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:52AM

Solr Details

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author Brey, Ilaria Dagnini, 1955-
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literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_arlington 940.5412 BREY
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Aurora Hills, Central, Cherrydale, Columbia Pike, Connection Crystal City, Detention Center, Glencarlyn, Local History, Plaza, Shirlington, Westover
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primary_isbn 9780374283094
publishDate 2009
record_details ils:.b1324081x|Book|Books|1st American ed.|English|Farrar, Straus and Giroux,|2009.|308 p., [14] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
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subject_facet Art treasures in war -- Italy -- History -- 20th century, Art, Italian, Cultural property -- Protection -- Italy -- History -- 20th century
title_display The Venus fixers : the remarkable story of the allied soldiers who saved Italy's art during World War II
title_full The Venus fixers : the remarkable story of the allied soldiers who saved Italy's art during World War II / Ilaria Dagnini Brey
title_short The Venus fixers :
title_sub the remarkable story of the allied soldiers who saved Italy's art during World War II