Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Fine Arts

Degree Program

Art (Creative) and Art History with a concentration in Art History, MA

Committee Chair

Fulton, Christopher

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Sichel, Jennifer

Committee Member

Sichel, Jennifer

Committee Member

Gibson, John

Author's Keywords

Nazi aesthetic; degenerate art; restitution; monuments men; looted art; second world war


This thesis examines the origins of the cultural aesthetics of the National Socialist Party of Germany, generally referred to as the Nazi Party. The Nazis aestheticized their politics to reinforce their antisemitic system of beliefs to further the pursuit of ethnic cleansing. Within this aesthetic, the doctrines of the party principles were illustrated for the acceptable citizens of the territories they dominated to assimilate the ideals that were espoused, originating from classical Greek artworks. By creating a structure of aesthetics, the Nazis were able to demonstrate a distinction between what art they found as acceptable and unacceptable, using this difference for their propagandistic purposes. I explore this in the first chapter. In the second chapter, I examine how the Nazis used this aesthetic to confiscate an accumulation of artworks. In the third chapter, there are two cases studies used to examine possible methods of restitution, and the current laws being enacted to ease the path for those seeking restitution.