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Nazi Art

            Nazi Germany regulated and controlled the art produced between 1933 and 1945 to ensure they embodied the values they wished to indoctrinate into the German people. The notion of "volk" (people) and "blut und boden" (soil and blood) was championed in paintings to glorify an idealized rural Germany and instill a sense of "superiority" in the Nordic physicality. Highly veristic and asthetisized works romanticized everyday subjects and reiterated redundant stereotyped Nazi ideals of the human body and its purposes in the Reich. Paintings of Adolf Hitler valorized and his image to heroic status, even to the extent of deification, elevating him to a god-like status. By promoting Hitler as superior to the average person, the artist made Hitler a mythological being who, if followed with unconditional religious piety, would lead the Germanic race to an ideal future. The architecture, or so-called "ideology in stone", was also a vessel for political ideology. The monumental buildings served to construct a pseudo-history to authenticate the stable, strong and righteous nature of the "thousand year Reich". Thus, art in the Third Reich was merely a form of propaganda that insidiously promoted the superiority of the Nordic race, the need for loyalty and obedience and the invulnerability of the German nation. Images of the Nordic peasant endorsed a return to a pre-industrial idyllic rural Germany. The oil painting "Kalenberg Farm Family", by Adolf Wissel, depicts an intimate domestic situation of a family relaxing, presumably after a day of "working the land", in a tranquil natural setting. It is an easily accessible work, that the Dadaist Duchamp would label "retinal art", as it is an aesthetically motivated and stylistically anti-modernist piece. The rich warm colours are inviting, serving to emphasize the serenity and timelessness of the scene. The composition is extremely ordered, controlled, and dignified, there is no indication of social unrest under the rule of the Third Reich, it is an ideal Utopia where the every day person a subject worthy of intense interest.

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