In pictures

Apollo Advent Calendar: Day 8

8 December 2013

Apollo is counting down to Christmas by celebrating some of the greatest acquisitions, gifts and bequests of 2013. We’ll take a closer look each day at one of the outstanding objects, works of art or collections shortlisted for the Apollo Awards Acquisition of the Year.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Saint John The Baptist, c. 1505
Benedetto da Rovezzano
(c. 1474–before 1542)
Terracotta, 50×40×25cm
Purchased by the John R. Van Derlip Fund

Made in Florence at the height of the Italian Renaissance, this bust of a youthful Saint John the Baptist was acquired in 1941 by Hans Posse for Hitler’s Führermuseum, an unrealised complex intended to house a vast collection of plundered Western masterpieces. It narrowly escaped destruction towards the end of the Second World War, when workers at the Altaussee salt mines in Austria circumvented August Eigruber’s orders to destroy the cache of art stored at the site: instead, they rigged explosives to seal them safely inside. Recovered by the Monuments Men of the US Army (see Apollo, December) and repatriated to the Netherlands Art Property Foundation in 1946, it entered the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ collection on the 68th anniversary of VE Day.

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