This *‘portaricature’ (fusion of portrait and caricature) of Adolf Hitler, is one in an unusual series of paintings using the same theme.
The artist used a strong mother colour, red-violet when portraying Hitler in this painting, along with black. Red-violet has the optical effect of drawing the viewer’s eye into the canvas. Strokes of blue paint, a colder colour, have been used appropriately in this painting too. The colour violet, when representing a person’s individuality, supposedly indicates that that person’s behaviour is unconventional and original. The person does his own thing. A deep violet colour has been associated with ruthlessness. Red is known to be associated with determination and aggressiveness, while black is associated with death and sadness.
The artist chose to exaggerate facial features in most of his paintings. Instead of following rules of proportion, he elongated the subject’s face, enlarged the nose, and shortened the distance between the eyes. He did this with the subject in ‘The Last Night’.
In this painting, the viewer is confronted with a fearful stare from two enlarged, blue eyes. The dilated pupils have been centrally placed within the subject’s eyes, and this allows the viewer to be followed wherever he or she goes. Historical records say that some people who met Hitler, (who was fascinated by the Aryan race), were mesmerised by his blue eyes.
The artist has given him very little ‘natural’, facial skin tones, and most of the skin is reddish in colour. This further emphasises Hitler’s blue eyes, his moustache and his small, downturned, tight lips.
There are some textured areas in this almost ‘flat’ painting, and attention has been paid to detail. Hitler is well-dressed with tie and white shirt, and his cap and gun rest on a nearby shelf, ready for use on the morrow. A clock hangs in the background. It’s the eleventh hour. It’s Hitler’s last night and time is ticking away.
Knowing what his actions would be on his final day on awakening, the feelings of defeat and desolation that Adolf must have felt are unimaginable, and have been well expressed in this painting, ‘The Last Night’.
Acrylic on Masonite, earlier works. (Cleaned and framed.)