Churchill or Hitler?

You can probably manage to tell a Picasso from a Monet. But can you do the same for Churchill and Hitler?

Inquiring minds want to know.

The website’s Swiss, and it’s written in German, but you should be able to figure it out. Just click on one of the four painting to get started and indicate Churchill or Hitler for each one. If your answer is correct, it will say either “Das war richtig,” “Richtig,” or “Genau.” If your answer is wrong, it will say either “Nein” (even I could figure that one out), “Das war falsch,” or simply “Falsch.”

At the end, you’ll get a score. I managed to get 8 out of 10 correct.


  1. #1 Doug Alder
    December 19, 2007

    LOL you did better than me – I got 3 right – pure guesswork on my part – I knew Churchill was a decent painter but for some reason I always thought Hitler was not – some of his architectural stuff in that series was quite good

  2. #2 HP
    December 19, 2007

    10 out of 10. It helps that I’ve seen some of Hitler’s paintings before, but I didn’t even know Churchill painted.

    Churchill: Bright colors, maritime themes, broad brush strokes

    Hitler: Muted colors, architectural themes, fine details

  3. #3 jba
    December 19, 2007

    7 of 10. Also guesswork, although some looked German to my completely uneducated eye. Too bad Hitler didn’t stick with painting… although if we have learned anything from Command and Conquer:Red Alert, we know it ultimatly wouldn’t have mattered.

  4. #4 markp
    December 19, 2007

    8 for me too… I had no idea Churchill painted– most of my guesses were based on looseness of style.

  5. #5 Rjaye
    December 19, 2007

    9 out of 10. Both men were quite good painters–I was surprised at Hitler’s skill. I had heard such negative things about his skill, and this was the first time I had seen any of his paintings. Some of the criticism I had read now seems based on what happened later, and not on what was actually on the canvas.

    It really is too bad he didn’t stick with painting.

  6. #6 IanR
    December 19, 2007

    Eight for me – I got every Hitler right, but wasn’t sure about two Churchills and called them Hitlers. It started with a maritime scene, which seemed to fit Churchill’s background. But I focussed too much on brush stroke and too little on colour, which was my downfall in both cases where I made a mistake.

  7. #7 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 19, 2007

    10 outa 10!
    I have seen examples of both of their artworks before, so most of them were consistent with their respective styles. There were a couple of Hitler’s landscapes that were a bit challenging, but the muted dreary colours and the boring composition gave them away. Churchill was a much better artist, IMHO. Hitler probably could have been a decent commercial artist – too bad he wasn’t.
    Did anyone else recognize the Hofbrauhaus?

  8. #8 Sastra
    December 19, 2007

    8 out of 10.

    Years ago I read an article on Hitler which dealt with his artwork, and the “signs” and “indications” that Hitler was a sociopath, a mass murderer in the making. The writer pointed out things like the lack of people (in his architectural drawings) and so on.

    I remember thinking, even as I read it, that it was a load of nonsense. As Rjaye says, it was a case of reading into something after the fact. A proper test would have at least made some attempt at blinding. As it is, I think Hitler’s paintings are fine — not top notch, but if your dentist or the guy in the next cubicle showed them to as his own work (or his grandfather’s, the style is dated) you’d be impressed. People seem to want to believe in monsters.

  9. #9 Alan Kellogg
    December 19, 2007

    As I recall, the big difference between the two men was that Hitler was better technically, but Churchill’s work had more personality.

    Why did Hitler quit painting? His application to a major Viennese art institution was rejected. His art was judged too impersonal because he rarely included human figures, and what he did include were often overwhelmed by what was going on around them.

    Hitler found it hard to connect with people. He was noted for his lack of empathy, and his inability to think of people in the mass as people. On a one on one basis he could be charming, but he was manipulative and controlling.

    All this was traced back to his stepfather’s abuse when he was young. All through his life Adolf Hitler exhibited behavior typical of those emotionally and physically abused as children. Nothing has been said of the subject so far as I know, but he may have been sexually abused as well. Survivors of abuse often have revenge fantasies, Hitler stands as the example of what can happen when an abuse survivor, sans treatment, can do with the power he held.

    What if Adolf Hitler’s natural father had recovered from the illness that killed him? Hitler would likely be remembered as one of the leading artists of the twentieth century.

  10. #10 gg
    December 19, 2007

    10 out of 10 (though I didn’t know until the end, since I mistranslated one of the responses). I had a very similar strategy to HP’s in deciding. It’s kind of fascinating that one can guess the paintings just by knowing a bit of the personalities behind them.

  11. #11 petri
    December 19, 2007

    9/10. Their styles are pretty different.

  12. #12 Zeno
    December 19, 2007

    Nine out of ten for me. I goofed on a landscape that I thought might be Churchill’s.

    Since I’m not trained in art, it must not be too difficult to distinguish their styles. That does not, however, tell us much about the men themselves (except perhaps that Adolf liked massive buildings more than Winston did — a sure sign of aspirations toward despotism!).

  13. #13 DLC
    December 20, 2007

    7 of 10 here.
    Hitler a good painter ? He couldn’t get a job painting postcards,and flunked the exam for an art college.

    Oh, and… hitler mostly did watercolors, while Churchill
    appears to have done oil paintings.There’s a book out somewhere on Hitler’s art. I seem to recall one collector buying a couple pieces around 1949 or so.

  14. #14 Brent McKee
    December 20, 2007

    10 of 10 for me. The big thing is that you can see progress in Churchill’s style over the years, while Hitler’s work seemed to stay consistent. It also seemed to me to be rather cold, dark and sterile (not unlike the man himself?) while Churchill’s work was warm and vibrant and full of life even though he didn’t paint people (at least not in the examples we saw).

  15. #15 demallien
    December 20, 2007

    Meh, 0 out of 10. Although I guess that still answers Orac’s question in the positive, assuming that the person taking the quiz doesn’t change strategy halfway through to try and improve things.

    I was essentially using the same strategy as HP, just reversed. I figured after getting the first one wrong that I may as well stick with the theory anyway, and well, it works pretty well 🙂

  16. #16 demallien
    December 20, 2007

    The wretched site was most uncomplimentary at the end though! 😀

  17. #17 Rob
    December 20, 2007

    3/10 (“Ah, mieserabel geraten. Versuchen Sie es noch einmal.”). Ho hum.

  18. #18 Anne
    December 20, 2007

    9/10, based on my impression of their personalities (bipolar vs. compulsive, controlling).

  19. #19 Cathy W
    December 20, 2007

    9/10. The first painting was a boat; I figured Churchill. The second was a very different boat; I figured Hitler and was wrong. Then a genuine Hitler came up, and the difference was apparent – primarily the bright vs. muted colors that HP noted.

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