Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill paintings: The art of war

This post is about two highly intelligent creative men who fought a battle of epic proportions.

Both brilliant communicators. Both Artists .

Both led nations with their vision and creative communication. Artistic men who altered the course of history.  And used their creative skill for good and evil.

Winston Churchill was an accomplished artist. Adolf Hitler a devoted painter.

From an early age Adolf would spend his time drawing and dreaming about art and architecture, painting buildings and urban landscapes to his fanciful delight.

Musician by Old Town Well 22cm by 32cm1 744x1024 Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill paintings: The art of war

“Musician by Old Town Well” painting by Adolf Hitler 22cm by 32cm Watercolour on Paper

Before politics, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna rapturously absorbing the cultural elite of European society.  He once earnt a small income from selling his paintings, mostly everyday scenes, printed onto postcards. However, during the Third Reich, Hitler discovered a thriving market for his original paintings in Germany.

Point 1. Begin marketing your original art to people who already know and love you.

Hitler is estimated to have produced around 3000 drawings and paintings in his lifetime. Early in his career, Hitler was even known to produce art on the frontlines of battle, sending drawings and cartoons back to military newspapers.

Hitler was proud of his art. During more generous moods, he even gave original paintings away to his favourites. Third Reich henchmen. He also gave a piece to Mussolini, during their brief friendship.

But 1907 dealt a crushing blow to the young Hitler.

Adolf Hitler was supremely confident of his artistic abilities and thought his entry into the Art Academy in Vienna was a certainty. His driving ambition was to become a person of high cultural standing in the art world. He believed it to be his destiny.

Point 2. Hitler aspired to be a great artist like Rubens

Unfortunately, his grandiose dream was ruined forever. When the Academy rejected his entry twice. The young Adolf Hitler believed the rejection from art school came from a Jewish professor.

But Hitler’s figures were often depicted out of scale and lacking in satisfactory anatomical detail. However, loving devotion was given to buildings, illustrated with extreme precision and detailed perspective.

People were not Hitler’s strength. Interestingly, the main reason for rejection at the Academy was due to his disregard for anatomy and inaccurate representation of the human form.

Point 3. Depicting the human form remains one of the highest skills of an artist

Similarly, Winston Churchill, the famous wartime leader and British Prime Minister, enjoyed spending his leisure time drawing and painting. In fact, his granddaughter remembers “As a child I would stand behind his easel and see him putting magic on the canvas,” says Edwina Sandys.

Winston was a self-taught artist who loved to paint landscapes full of colour and light. Actually, his paintings are currently on exhibition at The Trout Museum of Art in Appleton titled “Art of Sir Winston Churchill”.

Winston Churchill painting at the Easel

Point 4. Churchill was an accomplished artist and outstanding visionary.

Particularly strong in expressing his vision with words in Parliament, or in printed publications, but also on canvas. In fact, one British art critic stated about Churchill’s artwork, “these pictures will stand against any of the best impressionists”.

Churchill produced around 500 paintings during his lifetime and secretly entered a Paris exhibition in 1921. He sold 4 paintings at the exhibition and submitted under the fake name ‘Charles Morin’.

Winston once wrote an essay on the artistic process titled ‘ Painting as a Pastime ” in which he draws a comparison between art and war. He said, “One begins to see…that painting is like a battle; and trying to paint a picture is, I suppose, like trying to fight a battle”.

He loved both painting and war.

Point 5. Both Churchill and Hitler studied past masters artwork intently for creative insight into their own work.

Traditional psychology highlights the importance of visiospatial analysis in defining a person’s intelligence. This relates to an individuals cognitive ability to visualise and clearly depict reality in another medium.

Psychological studies indicate, these visionary skills are needed to lead people. Such skills are similar to the creative abilities used by artists when producing a piece of art.

The unique perspective of an artist and instinctual drive to create ‘something from nothing’ makes creative individuals highly qualified as leaders of people.

Point 6. Artists with great vision often have great ability as leaders.

Importantly, creating art can be relaxing for high achievers whose overbearing responsibilities can become exhausting and burdensome.

Art can offer an absorbing pleasurable distraction from the duties of real life.

In his essay Winston Churchill states, “Just to paint is great fun. The colours are lovely to look at and delicious to squeeze out. Matching them, however crudely, with what you see is fascinating and absolutely absorbing”.

The Tower of Katoubia Mosque painting by Sir Winston Churchill

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About Simon Brushfield

Simon Brushfield is an artist whose work has been described as ‘poetic, enigmatic and dreamlike’ (Michael Berry, "Selected Contemporary Artists of Australia" book). His paintings have been exhibited and sold across Australia and internationally. If you enjoyed this post, sign up to Simons VIP list and have posts sent directly to your inbox.


  1. Alyona says:

    Churchill from my point of view was very charismatic, it is confirmed by many stories about him

  2. Giedre says:

    It was very interesting to read about both leaders. Thank you, Simon. I would like to read more stories like this.

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