Before amassing his fortune with the enormous royalties from the
publication of his hugely popular
Hitler earned a living by using his artistic skills to produce paintings
that were sold to the public or used for postcards. Hitler was a great
student of the fine arts and studied music, opera, painting, sculpture,
and architecture. While living in Vienna under conditions of poverty, he
read voraciously and still managed to spend whatever meager income he had
to attend lectures, concerts, opera, and the theater. Even when he barely
had enough money to survive he refused to compromise and always purchased
the best paints, brushes, paper, and canvas. As a remarkably prolific
artist, he is estimated to have created between 2000 and 3000 drawings,
watercolors, and oil paintings. His artistic talent revealed itself at an
early age and continued painting and drawing throughout his life. Even while
behind the front lines in World War 1, he continued to paint in his spare time
and contributed instructional drawings and cartoons to the military newspaper.
His art continued throughout his leadership of Germany and included
detailed building plans, furniture design, city planning, and monuments.
Perhaps the notion of an artist becoming a political seems strange
in the current era where politics are dominated by professional
politicians, it was Hitler's profound artistic vision that translated from
his dreams into reality the Autobahn, Volkswagen, Rocket Science, and in
the general the groundwork for a prosperous people and flourishing culture
before this was lost in World War 2.
Just as the ancient Greeks wrote about the unique qualifications of
a philosopher to be a leader, an artist's unique perspective and instinctual
drive to create something out of nothing makes the artist uniquely qualified
to lead and inspire a nation.
National Socialist Art
Among the most renowned artists whose style flourished during
the National Socialist era were Arno Breker
and Adolf Wissel. The classical style of these artists stood against
the world trends in art at the time, such as cubism, surrealism, impressionism,
expressionism, dadaism, and modernism in general. Rather than censor these
modern styles of art, Hitler decided it was better to gather the work from
trendy modern artists and provided exhibits of "degenerative art" where
citizens could see for themselves what this style was about and compare it
to classical art. It was labelled "degenerative art" because it suggested
negativity and incomprehensibility of the world, and as such was at odds with
the positivism, determined progress, noble ideals, desire for solutions, and
generally hopeful outlook that the National Socialist movement stood for.
Hitler believed that modern art was in conflict with the eternal values of
beauty and therefore could only lead to a decline of civilization. Modern
art separated people from identifying with the positive expressions of
art because it was incomprehensible. In addition, modern art had
obliterated the concept of beauty and consequently stood as an enemy of
life itself because it preferred nothingness or the ugly to the beautiful.
Now that over 80 years have passed since Hitler first formed and articulated
these ideas, we are now left to judge the societal effects from modern art's
inversion and destruction of beauty. While the human form in some cases
remains praised for health and vigor, in other cases it is attacked with
piercings, tattoos, or hair that is dyed in strange colours. Meanwhile
the splendor of nature's landscapes are often destroyed in favor of poorly
conceived architectural designs, though few people seem to notice. In
countries like the United States, the potential monetary benefits of a
strip mall take precedence over the psychological effect of bad design,
crass commercialism, and the loss of a natural landscape. Contrastly,
many people who life in cities with buildings that are several hundred
years old and maintain architectural standards suggest that these old
buildings energize and inspire the people who live there.
Hitler considered the lack of architectural standards to be a serious
In the 19th Century our cities began to lose the character of cultural
centers and became simply human settlements.
When Munich was a city of 60,000, it wanted to be one of the major
German centers of culture. Today nearly every industrial city claims
this honor, usually without being able to show any significant
accomplishments of its own. They are nothing more than collections of
houses and apartment buildings. How can such an insignificant place
have any appeal? No one will have particular loyalty to a city that
lacks any individuality at all, that avoids anything resembling art.
Even the big cities are becoming poorer in real works of art even
as they increase in population.
The modern era has done nothing to increase the cultural level of
our big cities. All the glory and treasures of our cities are the
inheritance of the past.
Contrary to the belief that Hitler was uptight about things such as nudity,
he allowed painters and sculptors to produce both male and female nudes.
Male nudes were depicted as responsible, heroic and powerful while females
were neat, clean, and full breasted while having a flat belly, long-muscled
thighs, and slim shanks. They were sometimes depicted as Nordic, perhaps
because many people prefer the natural beauty of Nordics, but were sometimes
brunette as well. It should be noted that contrary to historical propaganda,
Germany is not a Nordic nation but a predominately Alpine one, though it has
a small Nordic minority, and this has been the case for several centuries.
It is therefore most probable that the artists and people were praising an
ideal in the depiction of their minority population rather than positing a
notion of national superiority in this image.
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