On the afternoon of May 14, 1940, the German Luftwaffe bombed the civilian center of Rotterdam in The Netherlands, leaving it in ruins. Seeing the extent of devastation, and threatened with the bombing of other major cities, the Dutch surrendered shortly afterwards. The Netherlands were of strategic importance to Germany, but to Hermann Göring, commander in chief of the Luftwaffe, it was also a prime site for plundering Dutch art. Göring, second in command to Adolf Hitler, was notorious for confiscating or purchasing great art and imagined himself to be a connoisseur.
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Dutch. The Art of Painting, 1665-1666. Oil on canvas, 120 × 100 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria. Photo: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, New York, NY.
Han van Meegeren (1899-1947), Dutch. Christ and the Adulteress. Phenol, formaldehyde, and lilac oil added to pigment, 34 × 24 cm. Instituut Collectie Nederland. Photo: Tim Koster, ICN, Rijswik/Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Han van Meegeren (1899-1947), Dutch. Supper at Emmaus, 1937. Phenol, formaldehyde, and lilac oil added to pigment, 118 × 130.5 cm. Foundation Museum Boijmans Van Beunigen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Dutch. Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, c 1654-1656. 160 × 142 cm (63 × 56 in). © National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland/The Bridgeman Art Library.
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