As most GCSE history students could tell you, through-out his childhood and adolescence, Adolf Hitler aspired to become an artist. This ambition came to an abrupt end when he was rejected, for 2 consecutive years, from the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. On the second occasion, he was not even allowed to take the entrance test. The studies shown here would have, most probably, been viewed by the academy’s professors and which would have been the cause for his rejection.
Hitler’s preferred subject matter was architecture, opting to depict traditional Austrian buildings over portraiture. His desire to paint Vienna’s landmarks spoke of no great creativity or artistic flair. In his preferred medium of watercolour paints, he often displays examples of perspective and accurate architectural drawings. They have completed with a significant amount of competence, yet compared with the famous alumni, his skills fall unashamedly short. The lack of variety in subject matter and materials would have been the major downfall in his portfolio.
Hitler’s work shows a lack of interest in his contemporaries; as other artists were heading towards abstracted forms and juxtaposed colours; his work retreated to soft tones and delicate brushwork. In an era of such momentous progression in fine art, Hitler’s work was more reminiscent of landscapes 2 centuries prior. The picture below is the first self portrait of Adolf Hitler, in fact is one of the first of his paintings the shows any focus towards the human form. Completed, approximately, 1908-1912, the study shows a lack of confidence in representing the body whilst the facial features of non-existent. The lack of human figures in his studies has been interpreted as a sign of a disconnection from humanity, focusing inwardly rather than on others. Some see this as a projection of the future, but that’s too freudian for me!
This post was inspired by the first episode of the BBC4 series,’ Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities’.
DISCLAIMER: I feel the need to clarify the fact that all opinions in the post are personal and I mean to cause to harm or offense to anyone. This post looks at the art work of Adolf Hitler 1908-1913 and I do not take in to consideration any actions committed or events that occurred after this time. I inherently believe that Adolf Hitler and his government committed some of the most horrific and shameless crimes ever witnessed by humanity. I do not currently, or have ever previously shown support Adolf Hitler or Nazism. I feel the need to state these views as, under the circumstances of the subject matter, the words could be misconstrued or removed from context.