The Art of Intimidation
How's this for a Hammond organ? It's a 1938 poster in a new exhibition at the Fundació Caixa Catalunya at La Pedrera in Spain - Music and the Third Reich: from Bayreuth to Terezin -, a pre-war invitation to visit the happy Fatherland to enjoy its music. There isn't a swastika or an SS uniform in sight; yet it reeks of Third Reich monumentalization. It makes the viewer feel small, while making the State (in the shape of an eagle) seem huge and unassailable. This subtle form of propaganda delivers no crass message, but puts the viewer into a receptive frame of mind. For a blatant attempt to put the fear of God into the viewer, take a fresh look at Michelangelo's The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel. It's the finest example of the art of intimidation I can recall.