Florentine Art under Fire
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By Frederick Hartt
Florentine Art under Fire is the intensely compelling, firsthand record of the efforts to preserve the priceless artwork of Tuscany, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Frankly and fearlessly recounting the success and failures of Allied forces to protect the treasures of Italian art, Frederick Hartt delivers a solemn reflection on the brutal effects of modern warfare on the fragile heritage of human achievement and the natural world.
These were the streets and squares scarcely altered since Giotto and Masaccio walked them. Here had been preserved, as nowhere else in the city, the Florence of the Middle Ages. Now, houses, towers, palaces with all they contained and with all their glorious memories, lay collapsed in mountainous heaps of rubble. Form to formlessness, beauty to horror, history to mindlessness, all in one blinding crash.
A powerful account of tragedy and triumph, Florentine Art under Fire is an indisputably vital contribution to the study of art, war, and the human condition.
Frederick Hartt (1914–1991) was an historian, professor, and scholar of Italian Renaissance art. During World War II, he served as an officer in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program of the Allied armies. For his efforts in that capacity, he was awarded a Bronze Star, the Knight’s Cross from the Italian government, and granted honorary Florentine citizenship. After the war, Hartt held professorships at Washington University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Virginia, and authored several distinguished books on art and art history.