The Power Of Art In Debra Dean's The Madonnas Of Leningrad

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The world as we know it wouldn’t be the world we knew if it weren’t for the preservation of art, Hitler knew how to control minds and was set on destroying the fine arts in the Hermitage museum. Marina, our protagonist survived Hitler’s army and was part of a small group of women who put their lives in risk to preserve the art. These women worked at the Hermitage museum where they were in charge of preparing the millions of pieces of art for transportation, Hitler wanted to destroy the history and beauty that the art represented. In Debra Dean’s The Madonnas of Leningrad, Artwork serves as a preservative of memory and time. These were Marinas memories though being brought back to life while she is nearly 65 years older now and at her niece’s…show more content…
At this point though in real time the search party has been out for hours, Dmitri and Helen are left in the local school while Dmitri’s life starts slithering away from fearing the worst has happened. Helen goes into an art room where one could say is a room in her own memory palace since this too was her favorite place as a teen. “It is an image as deeply encoded in Helen’s memory”(Dean 208) Dean says about Helen while she’s in the art room. It is here in the art room memories and images are processed into her mind helping her to see her mother in ways she hasn’t before and recognizing her as a child. She started to draw her mother from her memory and after a few attempts, she came close but she was “vaguely dissatisfied”(Dean 211) as Helen stares at it. The artist didn’t see the real beauty in her mother life because she hid it. Dean mentions how both Marina and Helen have a taste and knowledge of art but they didn’t learn that about each other until their later years. It is as if Helen never got to understand her mother fully and that’s why the drawing Helen made wasn’t good enough in her eye because there was more to her mother than she could see or know. The Irony in this painting is that it is a Madonna she painted of her mother for us while we got to know her as a young lady. The sad Madonna, who had to suppress her worst memories away and start a new…show more content…
As the story went on and on Marina wanted to hold on to life for as long as possible. As Anya was making her own memory palace, she wanted to hold true the question “‘what is necessary to please God and to save ones own soul?’ ‘…”Next I go to the fireplace. “Inside instead of logs, I put the answer. ‘In the first place, a knowledge of the true God and a right faith in him. In the second place, a life according to faith and good works.” (Dean 69) Marina went there in hopes to regain faith in God in hopes he will return her soul to her and the world. She was with herself in that fireplace and Marinas imagination was beautiful and her perception of life was full of color and raw feeling. The reason I know this is because of what the man said when he found Marina when Helen asked him what happened and what was beautiful he replied ” everything, man. That’s what was so amazing. There’s a killer view of the straits, but she was pointing at everything, you know, this dead Madrona tree out back, and these bands of sunlight coming through the roof in the garage. It was like she was saying everything was beautiful”(Dean 227-228). Marina Preserved the beauty in the beast that is the times of her life she survived and through art she as able to share it with other people before her memory palace was gone

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