The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel

(New York: Center Street, 2009), 454

  • A great quote about ordinary men appreciating art (151-152):

Hancock noticed men gathering out of the shadows. These were infantrymen, young soldiers drafted right out of school, the first into the fight. For months they had been shot at, mined, conter-attacked, and shelled. They bathed out of their helmets, or not at all, and ate out of ration tins, wiping their spoons on their pants. Their billet had been destroyed, so they threw themselves down wherever they could find a comfortable spot. As always, Hancock wanted to say something to them, to thank them somehow, but Stout spoke first.

"Paint: oil, rich, and generally thin with translucent film in dark areas and monochrome drawing sparely visible underneath."

Outside, the colonel was cheering, delighted by his first encounter with warfare. Inside, two Monuments Men bent over a four-hundred-year-old painting in the faint light of a newly arrived lamp. The first was kneeling on the ground, studying its surface like and archeologist in an Egyptian tomb or a medict with a wounded man. The second hunched behind him, concentrating on his notes. The soldiers, tired and dirty, huddled around them like the shepherds at the manger, staring silently at a painting of expressive faces and peasant villagers and at the two adult men in soldiers' garb fussing over every square centimeter of its surface.

  • Chapter 54: George Stout was a "modernized man who didn't forget the people behind the machines"