Nazi Art

.. o represent Nazi ideas such as the Aryan body, healthy and beautiful. The male would be strong and active, a superman, either a warrior, proud and heroic reaping victory after victory or participating in sport and shaping the body for battle in a friendly competition that would help shape his opponent preparing him for the same battle. And the female would be the lovely Nordic superwoman, a mother to birth and teach a generation of men for work and battle. Another popular theme in Nazi art was the German landscape.

Hitler was very fond of the snow covered peaks of the Alps, but the portrait and genre paintings are of more political and historical significance. Paintings of various figures high in the Nazi government were popular in art exhibits during the regime. Portraits of party officials, doctors, genocide experts and architects have been found in abundance in nazi cellars after the war. Usually the paintings were patterned on Renaissance and Baroque styles. Such paintings as Heinrich Knirr’s Portrait of the Fuhrer painted in 1937 show Hitler posed in a powerful but stable position.

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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 Teutonic knight.

He carries a red flag with the Nazi swastika. In this painting Hitler is bringing 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 people. The horse is black, and the background white. His armour is pure and polished. The only distinct colour is the red Nazi flag. Separated and pure are the colours, like the people of the 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 woman harvests grain while sewing and the caring for animals is being carried out in the picture 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. 1936 had brought Germany the eyes of the world with it’s Olympic games. In 1937 Hitler proclaimed: Never was mankind closer than now to antiquity in it’s appearance and it’s sensibilities. Sport contests and competitions are hardening millions of youthful bodies, 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 between the Aryan and the American negro proved German racial superiority to the watching world.

And the Olympic village built for the games was a utopia as grand and bogus as the villages Potemkin built for Catherine the Great of Russia. Nazi architecture would be the achievement of the century. Hitler wanted to outshine Paris. By 1950 Hitler planned to have a 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 ruins similar to such famous structures as the Acropolis in Athens. Hitler said If here in the distant future archeologists should dig the Earth and strike granite beneath, Let them stand bear- 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 chancellery was built because the old one was a piddaly cigar box in Hitler’s words.

Such buildings as large as his Great Hall that could sit one hundred eighty thousand people and would be seventeen times St.Peter’s in Rome or his sports hall that held four hundred thousand people can far better be described in Richard Harris’s novel Fatherland that has a setting of 1960’s Germany after the hypothetical Nazi winning of World War Two. But the fact is that the 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 with inspiration. Hitler tried to obtain a timeless existence through the immortality of art.

Although Germany has yet to rise again from its own ashes, we still remember Hitler and his infamous deeds. One could say he was successful. Bibliography 1. Architecture of Doom. Directed by Peter Cohen. 90 Minuets.

First Run Features. Videotape. 2. Architecture of Doom. 3. Payne, Stanley G.

A History of Fascism 1914-1945. Madison: The University of Wisconson Press, 1995. pp196-198 4. Clarke, Toby. Art and Propaganda in the Twentieth Century. New York: Harry N.

Abrams Inc, 1997. pp62-63 5. Nicholas, Lynn H. The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. pp10-11 6.

Harris, Robert. Fatherland. New York: Harper Paperbacks, 1992. p276 7. Clark, Toby.

p37 8. Architecture of Doom.

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