Art Essay on The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men


The monuments Men refer to a warfare, American-German movie whose basis is a book that Robert Edsel authored. The book is commonly called The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. George Clooney directed this movie and it reveals art historians’ group and several museum specialists’ efforts when they organized a re-capture mission for different collections of artwork that the forces of the German military had stolen. The group under George Clooney’s leadership convinced Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United State that in case the forces destroyed the artworks, there would be no fascinating arts and major evidence of the culture of over a thousand years.

The monument men

During World War II, Clooney, who is also a character in the movie going by the name Stokes realized that precious art works were constantly being stolen by Hitler. Hitler wanted them to develop a private museum. On getting approval from Roosevelt and support of the United States, Stokes establishes a unit of the military under the name “Monument Men”. This military unit would go to Germany in order to take the coveted works and then return them to respective owners.

However, this eventually turns personal because some monument men in this mission decide to engage in it till completion. This happens when the unit under Stokes’ leadership realizes that some combat units of their country turned down their efforts. These could not hinder tactical operations because they were dedicated to preserving the architecture. Simone, who is basically forced to allow stealing of art works by Nazi officers working for the mission of Hitler, conversely cannot work with unit members because he suspects that they are part of the looting team. This causes a split in the group because members pursue varying objectives which leads to the realization of different success levels. However, things get worse after the German authorities command their unit to burn artworks if they lost the battle. Equally, Russians are involved in this mission because they want to know where the Germans hind the artworks after stealing them so that they can keep them.

It is believed that German officers in particular stole the paintings of the SMU’s Meadows Museum by Bartolome Esteban Mirillo (1618-1682). These paintings were part of the artworks that the Nazis looted and later moved to German territory. Monument men discovered them there later. The Venice by Francesco Guardi was stolen from the Andre Louis as well. It was stolen not just because it had the potential of fetching money in huge amounts but also its wonderful history. The Trimph of Marcus Furius Camillus by Appollonio di Giovanni was also stolen from the arts collection of the Baron Edmond de Rothschild (600 years back).

The concern of monument men was mainly about finding museum paintings that had been stolen especially due to the fact that they were considered as carrying vital stories that related to the stories of European culture. If they were lost, it meant that vital history would be lost. Most characters of this film are fictional but there are those derived from the real-life situations such as Frank Stokes. This was a Harvard’s art historian who came up with the team that he led in the mission that was aimed at discovering the priceless artifacts. Although the story behind this film is true, monument men involved in it were real. The mission had 345 people from 13 countries that volunteered in serving the established MFAA section during World War II. These had expertise in different fields. They included historians, museum directors and architects. All had the responsibility of preserving the cultural treasures during the war.

During this war, the Nazis stole artworks in thousands from various people. The role of monument men was to help them recover them although some artworks are yet to be found. Among the recovered items which were given back to respective owners included Heinrich Buerkel’s three paintings commonly called Herds of Cattle. There were also the Oil portraits that symbolized Ludwig IX off springs that were discovered alongside the young maid’s portrait of Alois Broch. Ann McFadden’s art collection was also recovered and handed back to the owner by the FBI. Monument men featured Nero Decree and this was real. Its origin was the war tide that occurred in 1945 and it involved America and Germany. During the war, Germany started losing the battle to the American after Adolf Hitler gave a decree whose official name was “Demolitions on Reich Territory Decree”.

Among the top political figures of the Nazi Germany was Harmann Goering. He was also a close friend of Hitler. Although Goering attained several political positions in the regime of Nazi Germany, there is significant evidence that he participated in the theft of the World War II because he accumulated huge artworks collections of approximately 50 percent of the overall artworks that came from Reich’s enemies. They included more than 300 paintings and over 2000 artwork pieces. As explained by Stokes, Art indicates every modern society’s basis because it present cultural heritage on which any society is established and its important history. However, it is every person’s responsibility to preserve the art and people should not die while defending artwork. This movie has a noble look because it presents a heroism story. However, personally I did not find it appealing since the director did not maintain a good grasp of the narration and story tone. This resulted in a story that is messed up with positive qualities that failed to overcome the weaknesses.


The Monument is a vital film whose basis is a real life story. It helps the audience understand the events of the World War II. It features men called the monument men who made an initiative to recover the stolen artwork from Hitler returning them to respective owners. This is a realistic story and it enables the audience to comprehend the way people from various countries opted to protect their cultural artifacts voluntarily during World War II in order to preserve the contemporary society’s heritage.