Nazi Art – Art as a Tool of the State

Adolf-Ziegler-The-Four-Elements-before-1937“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it,” – Bertolt Brecht

Art in Nazi Germany was not to be a witness to history as it unfolds, but a powerful force, bringing in the future, accelerating the coming of a reality envisioned in the art itself.


Fine art was not considered propaganda. Its purpose was to create ideals, for eternity. This produced a call for heroic and romantic art, which reflected the ideal rather than the realistic. Explicitly political paintings were very rare. Still more rare were anti-Semitic paintings, because the art was supposed to be on a higher plane. Nevertheless, selected themes, common in propaganda, were the most common topics of art. Popular themes and images included landscapes, peasant life, and large families, heroic death and strong leadership. This type of art was simple and got to the point; it was intended to target the emotions of the people that looked at it.
Art critics also acted as important parts of the propaganda machinery. Therefore they were closely regulated as a profession. Not only were all critics obliged to be members of the Reich Chamber of Culture, and the specific Reich Chamber for the Visual Arts, but they were, as of November 1936, required to obtain certification from the Propaganda Ministry.

Joseph Goebbels: Art, Culture and the Nazi State
Jewish Mag

Art in Nazi Germany
History Learning Site

Photo Gallery:
Third Reich Art
Spiegel Online International

Image Gallery of Art Work Purchased by Adolf Hitler
Great German Art Exhibitions 1937-1944 in Munich
Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung

Nazi Political Art
German Propaganda Archiev

The Nazification of the Cultural Heritage of Humankind

Art of the Third Reich

Nazi Approved Art
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust

Inside Hitler’s Fantasy Museum
The Daily Beast

Online Private Catalogue of Hitler’s Private Art Collection
Library of Congress

Hitler in Nazi Art
German Propaganda Archive

Appealing to Primitive Emotions through Primitive Imagery
Logos Publishing

Aestheticism, the tool of Public Policy
Logos Publishing

Art Under Fascism
Propaganda: A blatant use of art as a tool of the state.
Extensive examples of Nazi propaganda posters

Share Button

We will be adding new content all the time.

  • List Item #1
  • List Item #2
  • List Item #3

Keep up to date by signing up now.