Thursday, December 15, 2005

Small Steps Of Renaissance From The Ruins Of Global Warfare

"A Nazi archive of 60,000 digital colour images of wall and ceiling paintings in German buildings has been put online by the Central Institute for Art History in Munich in collaboration with the Photographic Image Archive in Marburg. The pictures were taken for the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda and the Department of Buildings and Monuments between 1943 and 1945.

The photographs show the interiors of 480 buildings—churches, monasteries, castles and palaces, dating from the 10th to the end of the 19th centuries—in what was the “Greater German Reich”: what are now Germany, Austria, Poland, Russia (East and West Prussia), and the Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia). Each photographer was paid 35 Reichmarks for each frame and was required to take six of each work. Many of the works photographed were destroyed or damaged during World War II so the archive provides an unparalleled resource for restorers. ...

The Nazi authorities intended to record the works in order to publicise the destructive barbarities of the Allies and to provide the means of restoration when the war was over."

Donald Lee "Nazi photo archive goes online: Some 60,000 images of art inside German palaces and churches are now publicly available" The Art Newspaper (London) December 15, 2005 via

Link to Image Archive:

Saint Michael's Church, Zhytomyr, site of major fresco restoration project.

Old, pre-Great Patriotic War, postcard of Zhytomyr, Ukraine.

Zhytomyr's Russian Orthodox Churches, Polish Catholic Churches, and a Jewish Synagogue, have now largely been restored after suffering heavy damage following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. [One major Russian Orthodox Church -- near the ruins of the 10th century Castle -- is currently still being used as the Regional Museum of Anthropology.] Restoration of the frescos and interior design works of these religious buildings is ongoing. Zhytomyr is one of the oldest Slavonic Kievian Rus cities. It's name means "Peaceful Ryefields".



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