The year 2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and the beginnings of the conflict that would become known as World War I. In addition to the devastating loss of human life, the Great War was also responsible for the destruction of historic buildings and monuments, the theft of precious artworks, and the burning of untold numbers of books. Ravaged uses this anniversary as a poignant gateway to a greater discussion of the effect of war on artistic heritage. Beginning with the Trojan War and weaving a compelling cross-cultural narrative that ends in the 21st-century Middle East, this affecting publication explores how cultural treasures often became silent victims of armed conflict. Illustrations highlight over two hundred artworks and relics, which are often featured alongside complementary written reflections from contemporary artists. This thoughtful book is a graceful homage to centuries of lost artistic treasures.
Jo Tollebeek is professor of cultural history at KU Leuven, and an internationally recognized author and specialist on cultural history.
Eline van Assche is associate curator of the exhibition Ravaged: Art and Culture in Times of Conflict at M-Museum Leuven
Exhibition at M-Museum Leuven, Belgium