Photography, war and cultural heritage

Costanza Caraffa, Ute Dercks, Almut Goldhahn

© Akram Zaatari, still frame from "On Photography, Dispossession and Times of Struggle", 2017

Against the backdrop of increasing globalisation and new conflicts in the 21st century, questions pertaining to cultural heritage are receiving ever greater academic attention. In this context, the holdings of photographic archives represent important primary sources.

At the latest since the First World War we have seen a veritable medialisation of war, as part of which documentary photography has been systematically used as a means of political propaganda. In the context of the struggle for hegemony, images of endangered or even destroyed artworks point to the concrete threat to cultural heritage. This latter had already played an important role as the vehicle of a sense of identity during the processes of nation-building in the 19th century. The development and visual definition of each respective cultural canon was thereby profoundly aided by photography. The medium, at that time still young, was deliberately employed to document the cultural heritage of the individual nations in its multiple facets. These photographic images have meanwhile themselves become part of our cultural heritage today.

Almut Goldhahn: Von Kulturpolitik zu Kulturpropaganda. Das Kunsthistorische Institut in Florenz in den Jahren des Nationalsozialismus
In: Kunstgeschichte in den besetzten Gebieten 1939–1945, hrsg. von Magdalena Bushart, Agnieszka Gąsior und Alena Janatková, Köln/Weimar/Wien 2016, pp. 27–46

Costanza Caraffa / Almut Goldhahn: Zwischen 'Kunstschutz' und Kulturpropaganda. Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich und das Kunsthistorische Institut in Florenz 1943–1945
In: Kunsthistoriker im Krieg. Deutscher Militärischer Kunstschutz in Italien 1943–1945, hrsg. von Christian Fuhrmeister, Johannes Griebel, Stephan Klingen und Ralf Peters, Köln/Weimar/Wien 2012, pp. 93–110


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