Adolf Hitler is one of the most infamous figures in modern history. As the dictator of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II and oversaw the genocide of millions in the Holocaust. But before rising to power, Hitler was just an aspiring artist hoping to get into art school.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Vienna Academy of Fine Arts rejected Hitler’s applications twice, in 1907 and 1908.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we will dive deeper into Hitler’s early life and passion for art. We will look at his two failed attempts to get into the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, examining who sat on the entrance exam jury panels that rejected him and their critiques of his work.

We will also consider how being denied his dream of becoming a professional artist may have fueled his subsequent radical political views.

Hitler’s Childhood Interest in Art

Long before Adolf Hitler became the dictator of Nazi Germany, he harbored a deep interest in art during his childhood. This lesser-known aspect of his life sheds light on the man behind the dictator and provides insights into his early years.

Talent and Encouragement from His Teachers

As a young student, Hitler displayed a considerable talent for drawing and painting. His teachers recognized his artistic abilities and encouraged him to pursue his passion. They saw potential in him and believed that he could make a successful career as an artist.

Despite his troubled childhood and strained relationship with his father, Hitler found solace and expression in his art. He spent hours sketching and painting, honing his skills and developing his unique style.

His love for art became a form of escape from the challenges he faced in his personal life.

It is worth noting that Hitler’s interest in art was not limited to painting alone. He also dabbled in architecture and had a keen eye for design. His architectural sketches and plans showcased his attention to detail and his vision for grand structures.

Pursuing His Passion in Vienna

After completing his secondary education, Hitler moved to Vienna in 1907 to pursue a career in art. The vibrant art scene in the city was a major draw for aspiring artists, and Hitler hoped to gain admission to the prestigious Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

However, his dreams of studying at the academy were shattered when he failed the entrance examination twice. This rejection was a significant blow to Hitler, and it is often cited as one of the turning points in his life.

Some historians speculate that this rejection fueled his resentment and bitterness, ultimately leading him down a path of extremism.

Despite his failure to gain acceptance into the academy, Hitler continued to paint and sell his artwork to make a living. He immersed himself in the artistic community of Vienna, attending exhibitions and interacting with fellow artists.

While his work did not gain much recognition during this time, it was in Vienna that he began to develop his radical ideologies.

Although it is impossible to attribute Hitler’s rejection from art school as the sole reason for his rise to power, it is undoubtedly a significant aspect of his early life. The rejection fueled his ambition to prove himself and left a lasting impact on his psyche.

Understanding Hitler’s childhood interest in art provides a glimpse into his formative years and sheds light on the complex individual who would later become one of history’s most notorious figures.

Hitler’s First Rejection from the Vienna Academy in 1907

Before Adolf Hitler became one of the most notorious figures in history, he had dreams of becoming an artist. In 1907, he applied to the prestigious Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, hoping to pursue his passion for painting.

However, his application was met with rejection, marking a pivotal moment in Hitler’s life and shaping the course of history.

Applying to the Painting Program

At the age of 18, Hitler applied to the Vienna Academy’s painting program. He submitted a portfolio of his artwork, which showcased his skills and artistic style. Like many aspiring artists, Hitler saw this as an opportunity to gain formal training and recognition for his talent.

The Entrance Exam and Its Judges

The entrance exam for the Vienna Academy was notoriously difficult, and applicants were required to undergo a rigorous assessment of their artistic abilities. A panel of judges, consisting of established artists and professors, evaluated the applicants’ work and determined their suitability for the program.

Unfortunately for Hitler, the judges were not impressed with his artwork. They criticized his lack of technical skill and originality, ultimately deeming his work unsuitable for admission. This rejection was undoubtedly a blow to Hitler’s ego and aspirations as an artist.

Critiques of Hitler’s Artwork

The specific critiques of Hitler’s artwork have been a subject of speculation and analysis over the years. Some art historians have described his work as unremarkable and lacking in creativity. Others have suggested that his style was heavily influenced by the prevailing artistic trends of the time, making it difficult for him to stand out among his peers.

It is worth noting that Hitler’s rejection from art school did not deter him from pursuing his artistic ambitions entirely. He continued to paint throughout his life, albeit with limited success and recognition.

However, his failure to gain admission to the Vienna Academy played a significant role in shaping his trajectory and eventually leading him down a different path.

For more information on Hitler’s rejection from art school and its impact on his life, you can visit

Hitler’s Second Failed Attempt to Gain Admission in 1908

After being rejected from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1907, Adolf Hitler decided to give it another shot the following year. Determined to prove his artistic abilities, he prepared a new portfolio of artwork to submit for admission.

Trying Again with New Pieces

Hitler spent countless hours perfecting his craft, focusing on landscapes, architecture, and portraits. He believed that his improved artwork would impress the admissions board and finally secure his place in the prestigious art school.

With great anticipation, Hitler submitted his new portfolio, hoping for a different outcome this time. He held onto the belief that success in art would lead him to a fulfilling career and recognition as a great artist.

Another Rejection

Unfortunately for Hitler, his second attempt to gain admission to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts ended in another rejection. The admissions board deemed his artistic skills insufficient and did not see potential in his work.

This second rejection had a significant impact on Hitler’s life. Feeling defeated and disillusioned, he started to question his artistic abilities and his future. Little did anyone know at the time, this rejection would shape the course of history, as Hitler turned his attention towards politics and embarked on a path that would ultimately lead to World War II.

It is worth noting that Hitler’s rejection from art school is a well-known fact, and there are numerous sources available that provide further information and insights into this event. For more details, you can visit or

Impact on Hitler’s Views and Life Path

Adolf Hitler’s rejection from art school had a profound impact on his views and life path. The disappointment and embitterment he felt after being denied admission played a significant role in shaping his beliefs and actions.

Embitterment over Rejection

The rejection from art school left Hitler feeling bitter and resentful. It was a blow to his ego and a crushing blow to his dreams of becoming an artist. This embitterment fueled his anger and resentment towards those he believed were responsible for his rejection.

Hitler carried this resentment throughout his life, and it undoubtedly influenced his actions and decisions.

Hitler often blamed Jews and other minority groups for his rejection, using it as a justification for his anti-Semitic beliefs. This embitterment over rejection fueled his hatred and fueled his desire for power and control.

Turn Toward Radical Politics

Following his rejection from art school, Hitler turned toward radical politics. He became increasingly involved in far-right nationalist and anti-Semitic movements in Germany. His rejection from art school served as a catalyst for his political ambitions, as he sought to gain power and influence to enact his vision for a racially pure Germany.

Throughout his rise to power, Hitler used his rejection from art school as a rallying cry and a symbol of his perseverance in the face of adversity. It became a part of his narrative, reinforcing his belief in the need for radical change and his determination to achieve it.

While it is impossible to say exactly how Hitler’s life would have unfolded had he been accepted into art school, it is clear that his rejection played a significant role in shaping his views and life path.

It fueled his bitterness and resentment, leading him down a path of radical politics and ultimately to become one of history’s most notorious figures.


Twice denied admission from the prestigious Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, Adolf Hitler was embittered over the rejection of his life’s passion. Rather than persevering with art or considering it as a hobby, he turned to radical far-right politics, which ultimately led to his dictatorship and genocidal campaigns.

While speculating on alternate histories can be complex, it’s chilling to imagine how different the world could have been if only Hitler’s artistic ambitions had come to fruition instead.

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