Thursday, March 29, 2007

In the News

From the Telegraph:
The fog of war may have begun to lift 62 years ago but pockets linger on - not least in the art world where the theft and mayhem of the Nazis still cast a shadow.
This time the exploits of a daring woman war reporter, the US 101st Airborne Division - the Screaming Eagles of D-Day renown, a hoard of art plundered by Hermann Goering and a day in charge of Hitler's Alpine lair have left the National Gallery with a headache over one of its most popular paintings.
Cupid Complaining to Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a Renaissance masterpiece worth millions, may have to be given up by the gallery after claims that it was looted by the Nazis and then grabbed by Patricia Lochridge Hartwell, a war correspondent for Women's Home Companion magazine, in 1945.
Miss Hartwell, who was with the Screaming Eagles in Germany after the bloodbath of Omaha Beach, is thought to have taken the painting when she was given control of Hitler's former residence for a day by Lt Col Robert S Smith of the 101st Airborne, an experience she wrote about in an article titled: "I governed Berchtesgaden."
Texas-born Hartwell, who was 29 at the time, wrote of her day in charge: "As governor, I found I was also responsible for the safety of Goering's one hundred million dollars' worth of stolen art."
Her son, Jay Hartwell, told The Art Newspaper that his mother had been told she could help herself from a warehouse full of art. As well as taking the Cranach, Hartwell, who died in Hawaii in 1998, is also said to have had one of Goering's military sashes turned into a hat and handbag. The Cranach was painted in about 1525 and depicts Cupid complaining to Venus about being stung by bees while stealing a honeycomb, illustrating the moral that "life's pleasure is mixed with pain".
Also in the Telegraph:
A nun has broken her silence on the "miracle" recovery from Parkinson's Disease that may be pivotal in sainthood being confered on Pope John Paul II.
The 45-year-old French nun told superiors at her convent in Lyon that she was cured overnight after praying to the dead Pontiff.
Speaking to the Italian religious magazine Totus Tuus (All Yours) she recalled how her symptoms had worsened after she was first diagnosed in 2001 so that, by 2005, she was too weak even to watch television to see Pope John Paul give his final Easter blessing from the Vatican.
Two months later, on June 1, her Mother Superior suggested she pray to the Pope because "John Paul has not yet completed his work".
The nun said: "It was 5pm, I wrote it with difficulty and it was almost illegible."
The next morning she awoke, "amazed that I had been able to sleep.
"I jumped straight out of bed, because my body was no longer rigid and painful."
By June 3 "my left hand no longer trembled, I could write and I stopped taking my medicine."
Four days later, she said, her neurologist confirmed that her Parkinson's had gone.

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