June 23, 1940: Herr Hitler strolls around his shiny new toy, Paris, taking in the architectural marvels under the tutelage and guidance of those well-known art lovers, Albert Speer and Arno Breker; the former a drawer of nightmare-constructions that never took shape, thank goodness – the latter a grafter of dubious, neoclassical trash that would make Phidias and Alexandros laugh (we except Breker’s bronze bust of Wagner at Bayreuth).
The Nazis represented the worst threat in memory to art. They were thieves, of course. And what they did not understand, or disliked, they simply destroyed. They spun idiotic theories and practised a kind of brain-dead elitism that combined all the worst excesses of the closed mind with taste that could only be labelled as puerile. Look at Hitler’s paintings, for example: quite competent, almost inoffensive – chocolate-boxy daubs that could pass muster on a greeting-card; mediocre beyond belief.
We might titter at what seems to be the Queen’s fairly middle-brow tastes when it comes to culture, but at least she doesn’t outlaw stuff which she doesn’t like or get.
Anyway, Paris is still here; the great sculptors and architects are still here (in their works); Queen Elizabeth is still here, and Bayreuth is still here (though often closed). That’s a nice thought for the day, and those of similar ilk to this writer can also raise a glass of frosty, fine, clear and clean Estonian vodka to celebrate Victory Day (23 June, 1919). Terviseks!! (Cheers).