Every Man a Canvas
Art is sometimes a reflection of life, but other times art is what influences life, but always they are locked into a symbiotic relationship leaving markers of a society. Analysis of the art an individual prefers, or avoids can tell a story. In the case of Hitler and the German people, Hitler’s ultimate artistic ambitions were painted upon the minds of the individuals. The Volk was his canvas, and conformity to ideology was his self-portrait. What can be seen through this work, is a story of frustration, repressed feelings of rejection, and a compulsive need for order that represses originality.
Hitler’s early ambitions in art included recreating structures and designs that already existed by refining the efficiency of their order and design. The endeavor itself reflects the need for his personalized order to be rendered onto existing patterns. When he moved to painting, his rejection no doubt was due to the fact that this style was not a breakthrough in creative expression(Spielvogel, 2014 p. 27-28).
Hitler later as dictator focuses laser beam focus on revising and controlling the artistic culture and presentation in Germany. Hitler declares that it is central to the theme of the Volk. He dismisses the art of the Wiemar republic as junk, and proposes that the new cultural revolution have at its nucleus, the new German art based around the “blood and race” concepts. New expressionistic or experimental styles were rejected outright in favor of simple, unprovocative paintings(Sax and Kuntz, 1992 p. 222-223).
This plot against the progression of creative endeavors may very well be an outlet for Hitler’s repressed jealousy of other artists, and his actions form a complex revenge scheme against the artist community that rejected his work in Vienna. It seems overly convenient that the type of art that would come to represent the new “German art” was, for example, paintings that were at or below the talent level of Hitler himself, and “degenerate art” was consistent with artwork that Hitler had no preference or talent for producing himself. However, Hitler’s sculpting of the minds of the German people, particularly through propaganda such as the volksgemeinschaft concept, seem to fit with his projects schema to refashion city landscapes and buildings. Configuring the collective Nazi mindset may have been to Hitler, the ultimate work of art and intelligent design.
Sax, Benjamin C,.and Kuntz, Dieter. Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich. Lexington: Heath and Company, 1992.
Spielvoglel, Jackson J., and Redles David. Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc., 2014
Picasso, Pablo. “Guernica.” Pablo Picasso.org. 1937. http://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp#prettyPhoto