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#16 The Cultural Heritage of Europe & the Heroes who Saved it During WWII

Updated: May 9, 2022

Interview with Anna Bottinelli

Saturday, April 24, 2021

This was a live event only. No recording available.

I loved talking to Anna Bottinelli, the Florentine-born art historian who is president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. We alked about these individuals’ unprecedented and heroic work in protecting and safeguarding Europe's most important artistic and cultural treasures.

As Allied Forces fought the Nazis for control of Europe, an unlikely unit of American and British art experts waged a shadow campaign, and the work of these men and women truly saved some of the great treasures of Western art. In Florence alone, thousands of crates had been filled with paintings, sculptures, entire libraries, and archives—everything that could be moved, including Michelangelo’s statues for the Bargello Museum, the masterpieces of the Uffizi, and so much more. Now those works were in the middle of the theater of war. It is hard to overstate the drama and importance of what this group of soldiers and civilians did. The Monuments Men Foundation is preserving their history, and is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, America's highest honor for excellence in the humanities field.

During our conversation, Anna will shared her favorite spots in Florence, and behind-the-scenes stories about the filming of George Clooney's film "The Monuments Men" (2014).

Follow The Monuments Men Foundation, for more information on their incredible mission.

Monuments Man Lt. Frank P. Albright, Polish Liaison Officer Maj. Karol Estreicher, Monuments Man Capt. Everett Parker Lesley, and Pfc. Joe D. Espinosa, guard with the 34th Field Artillery Battalion, pose with Leonard da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine” upon its return to Poland in April 1946. (Photo courtesy of U.S. National Archives)

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