Cover art for Saving Mona Lisa- EXPORT EDITION
Icon, November 2018
Softcover, 384 pages
23.4cm × 15.3cm

Saving Mona Lisa- EXPORT EDITION The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures from the Nazis

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In August 1939, curators at the Louvre nestled the world's most famous painting into a special red velvet-lined case and spirited her away to the Loire Valley. So began the biggest evacuation of art and antiquities in history. As the Germans neared Paris in 1940, the French raced to move the masterpieces still further south, then again and again during the war, crisscrossing the southwest of France.

Throughout the German occupation, the museum staff fought to keep the priceless treasures out of the hands of Hitler and his henchmen, often risking their lives to protect the country's artistic heritage.

Thus a story that features as a vignette in the George Clooney film 'The Monuments Men' is given the full-length treatment it demands. The recipient of several independent publishing awards in the United States, and illustrated throughout with nearly 100 photographs, Saving Mona Lisa is a compelling true story of art and beauty, intrigue and ingenuity, and remarkable moral courage in the darkest of times.

Reviewed by Leon Hill

 This book is about the remarkable true story of Jacques Jaujard and his dedicated team whom saved the national treasures of the Louvre museum in Paris during World War II.  Prior to the outbreak of the war, Jaujard whom was the deputy director Louvre, ordered the packing and removal of priceless artwork, jewellery, and pieces of antiquity.  Among the most important art masterpieces was Leonardo da Vinci’s: Mona Lisa

Throughout WWII, the Louvre collection was moved many times, and to various places, sometimes under very precarious situations - not only to the items, but to the people involved.  If they were caught, they would have been incarcerated or killed, and the priceless items confiscated. 

Prior to the liberation of France in 1944, Jaujard played a very dangerous political game of “cat-and-mouse”; not only with the German hierarchy, but also, with bureaucrats within the Vichy government whom supported the Nazi Regime, and their obsession to purloin France’s national treasures. 

Hermann Goering and Joachim von Ribbentrop, converted numerous artworks, such as: Gregor Erhardt’s sculpture Belle Allemande, the painting Master of the Holy Kinship - Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and Francois Boucher’s Diana leaving her bath respectively.  Hendrich Himmler wanted the Bayan Tapestry to support the Nazi ideology of the Aryan Race.

Following the end of WWII, Jaujard and his team, would eventually see the return to the Louvre museum the priceless artwork, jewellery and antiquities.


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