Friday, June 21, 2013

Merkel and Putin at exhibition of Disputed Art

The BBC's Steve Evans explains how an exhibition in Moscow of ancient objects, including some taken from German museums in 1945 escalated yesterday into "a bit of a diplomatic incident":
The two countries are in dispute over whether works of art taken by Soviet forces in the war should be returned to Germany, the BBC's Steve Evans reports from Berlin. No-one quite knows how much art was looted from German collections as the Soviet Army closed in on Berlin but it certainly runs into thousands of paintings and sculptures, our correspondent says. One gallery alone in Berlin lost 441 pictures, including works by Rubens and Caravaggio. The new exhibition at the Hermitage Museum includes work previously in German museums. The Russian position has in the past been that the works were paid for with the blood of Soviet soldiers, our correspondent says. Russian officials have also pointed out that Napoleon's troops looted works from Russian collections, works which ended up in the Louvre. Furthermore, Nazi forces destroyed or looted Russian art treasures during the invasion of the USSR.

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