Christoph Frank: Barbarossa and the Arts: The Intended Spoliation of the State Hermitage in Leningrad by Germany, 1941-1945

Seminar

The seminar will present and discuss evidence in relation to the programmatic and systematic plundering of the collections of Leningrad as intended by German authorities during the war conducted by the Wehrmacht against Russia in the years 1941-1945. Some of the leading institutions involved in this undertaking, about which we still know too little, were the Reichspropagandaministerium (Ministry of Imperial Propaganda), the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Ministry) and the State Museums of Berlin.

Christoph Frank, born in 1963 in Basel (Switzerland), studied the History of Western Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art of the University of London. In 1994 he received his Ph.D. in the History of the Classical Tradition from the Warburg Institute of the same University with a dissertation entitled "The Mechanics of Triumph: Public Ceremony and Civic Pageantry under Louis XIV" (amongst his teachers were Michael Baxandall, Louis Marin and Elizabeth McGrath). Before being appointed Professor of the History and Theory of Art and Architecture at the Accademia di architettura in Mendrisio in 2006, Christoph Frank worked at the Research Centre European Enlightenment in Berlin/Potsdam, the Technical University of Berlin and the Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Institute for the History of Art in Rome. Over the years he received prestigious fellowships from the German Historical Institute in Paris, Columbia University in New York, the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris, the Max Planck Association for the Advancement of Science and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. Since 2009 he acts as Vice-Dean of Research at the Accademia and since 2011 as Director of the Mendrisio Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture, which he has founded. Since the years of the collapse of the Berlin Wall (1989) Christoph Frank specializes from a comparative perspective in eighteenth-century European art and overlaying issues of twentieth-century art historical historiography. At Mendrisio apart from teaching general and specialized courses he is also responsible for a number of competitive research projects, some of which were generated by his post-1989 interest in the artistic situation of Northern and Eastern Europe in particular, as for example The Mitau Archives of Heinrich von Offenberg (1752-1827) (SNF Project 100012-120587) and Diderot, le concept de "civilisation" et les beaux-arts: La Réception des Lumières sous Catherine II (SNF Sinergia Project CRSII1-133048). In relation to his research interests see for example: Christoph Frank, "Voltaire entre les anciens et les modernes: L'œuvre de Jean-Antoine Houdon en Russie et en Pologne", in: Jean-Antoine Houdon: La Sculpture sensible, Exhibition Catalogue, ed. Maraike Bückling and Guilhem Scherf, Montpellier, Musée Fabre, 2010, pp. 239-257.

Illustration: A German Spoliation List Intended for the State Hermitage, 1941, Berlin, Political Archives of the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut
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Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf  
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