I watched Woman In Gold today, the true story of an Austrian-Jewish refugee (played by the great Helen Mirren) living in America who launched a legal campaign against the Austrian government to reclaim paintings by Gustav Klimt that were stolen from her family by the Nazis during the war.
In particular was a portrait of her beloved aunt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer l, later changed to Woman In Gold to disguise the sitter’s Jewish identity. And maybe to obscure how the painting ended up in an Austrian gallery, too. As part of the national identity, it was described as ‘the Austrian Mona Lisa’.
The film finished with a line stating that it is estimated that over 100,000 works of art are yet to be returned to their rightful owners.
I am no expert when it comes to art, but when you look at the image of the painting, enlarged, close up, can’t you just feel the warmth on your skin?
And all those eyes in the dress, maybe looking at us from history, perhaps inflicting a judgement.