The Metropolitan Museum of Art has rejected a claim by an American Jewish collector that it had purchased his collection, despite the fact that the museum’s records indicate otherwise.
When the descendants of Jewish art patrons attempt unsuccessfully to recover works stolen by the Nazis, they make headlines.
A museum in Dusseldorf, for example, is presently fighting the restoration of a painting by German Expressionist Franz Marc, who was branded “degenerate” by Hitler apologist Hermann Goring.
There’s no need to stress.
The picture “Moses Striking a Rock” by 16th-century Dutch artist Abraham Bloemaert is also up for consideration right now. Despite the fact that many institutions believe it was sold “as a consequence of Nazi persecution,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the painting’s current owner, disputes the allegation, claiming there is insufficient proof that the piece was sold under duress.
It’s a difficult situation.
Given that more than 80 years have elapsed since the event, the reparations problem is obviously complex. The grounds for evaluating reparation issues, according to Berlin lawyer Friederike von Bruhl, are as follows: What is the selling date? Was the buying price “just right”? Were the sellers “unrestricted in their expenditure of the proceeds”?
The date of “selling” is unquestionably important in determining restitution. But the issue of whether the price was high enough begs another: who determines if the price is fair? And who cares what a vendor does with his profits?
a poor painting
But here’s the thing: there’s a catch. This Bloemaert picture is terrible, and I’m not sure why it’s so valuable. Consider the title of the painting, Moses Striking the Rock, which alludes to a pivotal event in the Old Testament.
However, this is not what you see.
The main event is
Moses is not the primary character, the one who jumps out at you. Instead, it’s a half-nude lady with a self-satisfied smile on her face, posing like a pole dancer at a strip club. How can it be in a desert when people are begging Moses for assistance because they are thirsty for water?
Besides, this Bible tale makes no mention of a naked lady.
If you look closely at the far-left side of the painting, you may see Moses partially buried in the shadows.
Clearly, the painter misses the whole meaning of the narrative, which started when the Israelites ran out of water during their 40-year journey through the desert from Egypt to Israel.
When Moses prayed to God for aid, he was instructed to speak to the rock, according to Numbers 20:8-11.
Instead, he smashed the rock in a fit of rage over his yelling supporters.
Is there a “so what?” in the room? Consider that disobedience to express orders from on high resulted in a penalty that prevented him from entering the promised land.
Confessions from the heart
The Bible narrative is not mentioned in the display material at the Met. Interestingly, the museum admits that Moses is “almost buried in shadow.” It also acknowledges “the colossal bare-breasted woman’s” presence, acknowledging that she “overshadows the apparent topic.”
The museum even declares that “the portrayal of a range of idealized figures is the painter’s focus.” All of this seems to be OK with the Met. So, why do we have such a strong need for this item?
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