much art played a role in the National Socialist Germany seems to get underrated in the history
priority because Hitler wanted to capture Chronos, not Gaea. He wanted to dominate the rest of
time, not the limits of Earth.
Hitler was born and raised in the town of Linz. As a youth he studied art, primarily as a painter
capturing mostly the surrounding Alpine Mountain landscapes that he grew up with, but he also
had an interest in architecture. When he turned eighteen he applied to the Vienna Art Academy,
and was rejected. Along with art, Hitler was fascinated with Linz, Antiquity, and Wagner. It was at
Hitler thought of Wagner and art as the basis for a new government, nation, and people. It is
the artist can give them.”2 Less than three months after coming to power, the Nazis issued
Realism”, but symbolizing the national and racial policies. And while the Soviets tended to
known that the Third Reich was extremely hostile to Avant-Garde artists, but before the Nazis
compatible with National Socialist ideas. These artists include Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich
Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Ernst Barlach, and Emil Nolde. Nolde was even a Nazi party
were very anti-capitalist. The Expressionists promoted sensation and passion over rational logic
Nazis attacked these modern artists as incompatible with the Nazi ideal because of there strong
commissioned to decorate Goebbels home would later write: “I borrowed a few watercolours from
paintings—until Hitler came to inspect, and expressed his severe disapproval. Then the minister
Upon the assumption of power, almost all modern art was attacked and artists of all sorts fled the
Bauhaus had close connections with the Soviet schools of Constructivism and Suprematism.
These groups, while not necessarily Communist, were overly leftist ranging the gauntlet from
commemorate the House of German Art, One of Nazi approved art called the Great German Art
Exhibition (Grosse Deutsch Kunstausstellung) and another exhibition of Degenerate Art
“From the pictures sent in for exhibition, it is clear that the eye of some men shows them things
other than they are—that there are men who on principle feel meadows to be blue, heavens
that in which they represent—then one has to ask how the defect in vision arose, and if it is
hereditary the Minister of the Interior will have to see it that so ghastly a defect shall not be
allowed to perpetuate itself—or, if they do not believe in the reality of such impressions but seek
on other grounds to impose them upon the nation, then it is a matter for the criminal court.” Hitler
stated on the House of German Art’s inauguration.6 This connection of degenerate art and
misshapen people. A film was made in 1936 on this principle and shown in almost every city.
conscious” art that was “within the limits prescribed, not by any artistic idea, but by the political
female would be the lovely Nordic superwoman, a mother to birth and teach a generation of men
political and historical significance.
Paintings of various figures high in the Nazi government were popular in art exhibits during
Hitler posed in a powerful but stable position. Obviously based on Baroque works, this piece has
a non-descript background of trees and clouds that give an outdoor atmosphere without
specifically stating a place or time. It relates to a nature setting that could easily be Germany or
whatever place that the viewer happens to be. He is dressed in military uniform like the
noblemen that were in full armour when this style was developed.
Another portrait of Hitler that confuses the barrier between Baroque and Nazi art even more is
The Flag Bearer by Hubert Lanzinger sometime after 1933. This torso shot of Hitler riding a
horse has him dresses in a suit of pure silvery armour, undented and unblemished, like a
salvation through warfare. Like a crusader in this painting, Hitler seems to be a visual
complement to his speaking on how war and permanent revolution strengthen a nation and it’s
new Germany are to be in Hitler’s eyes.
Such genre paintings of the period like Gisbert Palmie’s The Rewards of Work also use the
separation of colour to represent purity of race. The golden seamless cloth being woven by the
man at the bottom right of the picture flows around a centered beautiful Aryan woman. The
cloth’s colour matches her blond hair. The background is a rural farmland setting. The various
fields can be distinguished from each other. The figures are out of time. A man picks fruit and a
plane form a unity of the rural people (volk) and the cycle of nature. Their equipment for
performing these tasks of labour are outdated. They use a spinning wheel for sewing and
dressed in Renaissance costumes to express the anti-modern position of the Nazi government.
proclaimed: “Never was mankind closer than now to antiquity in it’s appearance and it’s
displaying them to us more and more in a form and temper that they have never manifested nor
been thought to possess for perhaps a thousand years.”7 The much anticipated boxing match
new German capital ready. After the House of German Art, Hitler planned many buildings. He
wanted to reconstruct a Germany in the Grecco-Roman style. His obsession with antiquity is
clearly diplayed in his “ruins principal” that he formed with Albert Speer in 1934. This idea would
have the new constructions collapse in on themselves after a period of abandonment that left
headed in front of a glorious idea that shook the world.”8
Forty cities had monumental building projects planned by Hitler and Speer. In 1939 a new
buildings as large as his “Great Hall” that could sit one hundred eighty thousand people and
people can far better be described in Richard Harris’s novel Fatherland that has a setting of
Hitler lost his war. Even in defeat he was preoccupied with the art and architecture of the Third
Reich. Losing battle after battle, Hitler received the final model for his plans of a “Hitleropolis” in
his hometown of Linz on February 9th, 19459 and while in his bunker he studied the project for
hours on end. He called doom art’s highest form of expression obviously bases on the firey
ending to some of Wagner’s operas. A grand German fall would fill other German generations
Germany has yet to rise again from its own ashes, we still remember Hitler and his infamous
deeds. One could say he was successful.
1. Architecture of Doom. Directed by Peter Cohen. 90 Minuets. First Run Features. Videotape.
2. Architecture of Doom.
Press, 1995. pp196-198
6. Harris, Robert. Fatherland. New York: Harper Paperbacks, 1992. p276
7. Clark, Toby. p37
8. Architecture of Doom.