The Telegraph Travel – 13 March 2017

The painting is part of the Museum of Madness exhibition

The painting is part of the Museum of Madness exhibition Credit: MUSEO DELLA FOLLIA

A museum in northern Italy has unveiled an oil painting by Adolf Hitler as part of an exhibition exploring the link between art and madness.

The deceased dictator’s work has been described as a “piece of s***” by the acerbic art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, who curated the exhibition at Museo Di Salo in Lombardy.

Hitler’s oil painting, which is on loan from a private German collector, has never been exhibited before.

An unrelated watercolour by Hitler, who failed as an artist

An unrelated watercolour by Hitler, who failed as an artist Credit: ALAMY

“It’s a piece of s*** aesthetically,” Sgarbi told Italian news agency, ANSA. “[It] says a lot about his psyche: there is no grandeur here, only misery.”

Ill-tempered and more than vaguely haunting, the oil painting depicts two solemn looking men – one stood up, the other sat at a table – guarding what looks like the entrance to a gloomy corridor.

The picture is among more than 200 pieces of work on display at the ‘Museum of Madness’ exhibition, which also features pieces by British painter, Francis Bacon, and the 18th-century Spanish master, Francisco Goya.

The show opened at the weekend and will run until November 19.

"It’s a piece of s*** aesthetically", said the curator

“It’s a piece of s*** aesthetically”, said the curator Credit: MUSEO DELLA FOLLIA

Hitler’s art has fetched considerable sums at auctions in recent years, though during his most prolific period the would-be dictator’s work was considered mediocre at best.

Twice he was snubbed by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, which encouraged him to abandon art and pursue a career in politics instead – and we all know how that ended.

Sketches of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs, reputedly by Adolf Hitler, can be found at the military museum in Svolvaer, in the Lofoten Islands.

Given Salo’s historic ties with Nazi Germany, the location for the ‘Museum of Madness’ exhibition is someone apt.

A pretty town overlooking Lake Garda, it became de facto capital of Benito Mussolini’s Nazi-backed puppet state, the Republic of Salo, which was established during the Second World War as the Italian dictator began losing his grip on power.

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