Art and Dictatorship

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Art and Dictatorship

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    Art History, German Culture, History, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This course provides an introduction to art and politics in the context of dictatorship, focused on the examples of Hitler's Germany, Stalin's USSR, Mussolini's Italy, and Franco's Spain. In the first part of the semester, students will gain an understanding of art in a democratic society by analyzing the art and architecture of the Weimar Republic in Germany.
    Official art and architecture in Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union will then be examined, focusing on the works of Albert Speer, Giuseppe Terragni, Arno Breker, and Leni Riefenstahl. Modernist and Jewish artists were persecuted, forced into emigration or deported to concentration camps. Under the Nazi regime in Germany, the exhibition "Degenerate Art" tried to propagate the fascist idea of what art should not be like.

    Nazi Art Looting and the difficult and long way to Art Restitution will be examined, focusing on the case of the Dutch art dealer und collector Jacques Goudstikker and the "art collector" Hermann Göring.

    Art has also served as a medium to commemorate the Holocaust: the memorials at Buchenwald concentration camp or the Holocaust memorial in Berlin are prominent examples.

    In the course of the semester, students will get an overview of important European art and architecture movements of the early 20th century. In addition, the course aims at providing a deeper understanding of art under totalitarian conditions.
    As a complement to the lectures, formal field-trips to historically significant sites and museums constitute an integral component of the course.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations