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From Carter to Hitler. 10 politicians who ventured into arts

A lot of well-known politicians were engaged not only in social and political activities but ventured into painting. Some of them took brush to switch off from the governing of their countries and the world after they had resigned. We offer you paintings of 10 well-known personalities, who were fond of painting.

George Walker Bush

George Bush Jr., no doubt, one of the most debated politicians of our time, is fond of painting. When the controversial president of the United States quitted brandishing the weapon and took a brush in his hands the world could catch a break. In 2012 two self portraits by Bush were posted on the Internet after the e-mail of one of his relatives had been hacked.

Busch began his exercises in painting from his beloved dog Barney and other animals. At the same time among the pictures hackers exposed on the Internet are his self portrait where the 43 President depicted himself from the back taking the shower and his legs in the bath. Art critics estimated these pieces as the works having no artistic value. The artist continues his work regardless their assessments.

More than 30 portraits of the world leaders including Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin are housed in Dallas at the Presidential Library and Museum after George W. Bush, the ex-president. According to the artist, he painted them from the photos he found in Google, Wikipedia or somewhere else.

Prince Charles

Prince of Wales produces water color landscapes of different places all over the world including Australia, Asia, Jamaica and certainly the Royal Botanic Garden. Recently he was shot in the documentary the Royal Paintbox, where the unknown paintings produced by the members of the British Royal family for hundreds of years were shown.

Adolf Hitler

The major part of his career this personality devoted to persecution of the art he called a degenerative one. However, from the different sources including his own memories the world knows well about Hitler’s craving for painting. He was eager to be a painter and applied to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and both times he was rejected. Later he sold postcards with the views of streets of Austrian cities.

It is interesting, that most of the paintings by Hitler included placid landscapes, buildings and still-lifes, without the slightest hint (at least, at the first glance) of the monster he revealed later. We could only guess how the modern world history could have changed if the professors of the Fine Arts School in Vienna had been well disposed to the young applicant.

Winston Churchill

George W. Bush once told that he was mainly inspired in his paintings by Sir Winston Churchill. The art works by the British Prime Minister brought a rather sufficient income being sold at the art auctions. He painted mainly landscapes, portraits and still-lifes. He took his brush in his hands to cope with his depression or "black dog" as he called it.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower like a lot of his colleagues all over the world, claimed that he began painting following the example of Sir Winston Churchil.

Before coming to the the official office of the President of the United States, the Oval Office, he had occupied the post of the President at Columbia University and had watched the artist Thomas E. Stephens working at the portrait of his wife Mamie Doud. That time Dwight D. Eisenhower started interesting in arts. Later Stephens presented his friend, a politician, a kit for painting, though the President had never been serious about his exercises in painting.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower. The portrait of his wife Mamie Doud.
  • Regardless 250 pieces he produced, Dwight D. Eisenhower had never been serious about his paintings.
When being interviewed by Richard Cohen, a journalist, answering the question about symbolism
Exquisite still-lifes and marvelous plants on canvases: flowers do not only beautify the appearance, but also open secret meanings, and convey messages to the attentive researcher. Leafing through captivating Herbarium, we're examining enigmatic garden of flower symbols.

Read more Symbolism is an art movement that has been reflected in painting, literature and music. It emerged in the 1870s-1880s in France, later spread to Belgium, Norway, and the Russian Empire. It reached the peak of popularity at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. Symbolism is characterized by sadness, introspection and understatement: as if an artist came to quiet despair, but he was too shy to talk about these feelings, so he painted them.

Read more
in one of his paintings Dwight D. Eisenhower said: "Let's get something straight here, Cohen. They would have burned this [expletive] a long time ago if I weren’t the president of the United States."

Jimmy Carter

The other President who was an amateur painter Jimmy Carter publicly praised George Bush for his achievements in painting called his art experiences as "very interesting works". Carter also started painting after he had resigned from the White House.

His hobbies included wood engraving and winemaking, however, the artworks by the thirty ninth President of the United States are sold for up to $ 250,000. All the sales revenues are transferred to the account of the Carter Center Fund whose goal is to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering, including helping improve the quality of life for people in more than 80 countries. It also leads disease eradication efforts.

Edi Rama

On the contrary to the leading political personalities on the list the Prime Minister of Albania had been an artist before he was engaged in political activities. His art works were exhibited in Paris, Berlin and Brazil. In 2002, when he was the mayor of Tirana, he exploited his sense of the beauty to make his city comfortable and nice; that time the city experienced hard time. Some buildings were painted orange by his order.

When Rama decided to make some other buildings colorful he faced resistance of some states members of EU. Though, he denied all the arguments claiming that, when colors were all around, the people would be inspired by the wind of changes… They would stop leaving litter in the streets and start paying taxes.

General Francisco Franco

Like Churchill fascist dictator Franco was engaged in painting as a means to relax from the stresses of governing and according to his grandson: "He would regularly lock himself in his study
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
after dinner to spend time painting."
His hyper realistic often full of violence paintings reveal his nature expected from such kind of a politician. However, he produced some placid landscapes and a painting depicting an owl with a kingly air.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria made sketches of the Royal Family members she never wanted the public to see. When they leaked to a journalist Her Majesty filed a lawsuit against him to stop publication of the drawings. It was one of the first cases of Public Person vs Mass Media.
Nevertheless, in 2012 the public was offered the rare chance to see them when copies of six of the pictures went to the auction house Dominic Winter. They depicted Victoria’s daughters taking bath or dressed in the queenly robes. The sketches revealed a talent of the Queen very few had known about before.

Ulysses S Grant

Grant began painting when he was a cadet at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York. A lot of his paintings survived till nowadays. He also studied under Romantic artist Robert Walter Weir, a painter of the Hudson River School.

Grant mainly depicted landscaped and horses in his watercolors.

No doubt, the above list of the personalities who were engaged in the world policy as well as in amateur painting is far of being exhaustive. In your comments you can extent the list by adding names of public persons whose hobbies were amateur paintings. You can also estimate whose works are of the real art value and which of them attract your attention only because of the personality but not of his/her artistic talent.