A painting by Adolf Hitler displayed at a museum in Italy has been attacked by a man with a screwdriver. A 40-year-old was reported to shout "s**thead" while stabbing the piece by the Nazi dictator hanging in the Museo Di Salo in Lake Garda.

The unnamed painting, which is being loaned from a private collector for the Museum of Madness installation, was not seriously damaged during the attack and the owner decided not to press charges.

Vittorio Sgarbi, curator of the 'Museum of Madness: from Goya to Bacon' travelling exhibition, admits he does not like the work from Hitler.

"It's a piece of crap, it's a painting by a desperate man" he told Italian news agency ANSA.

"You don't see greatness but you see misery here. [It] is not the work of a dictator but that of a wretch, it reveals a profoundly melancholy soul."

Writing on Facebook, Sgarbi also condemned the attack on the panting just because it was produced by Hitler.

He wrote: "Unfortunately, the episode of violence [against] a disturbing document representing human folly and pettiness confirms the uselessness and provocation of laws that ignite legitimate hate.

"What has been forbidden by history must be regarded with contempt and distance, without replicating the form of censorship and hate that those dictatorships promoted."

The piece is believed to be what Hitler submitted as part of his application to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, from which he was rejected twice for.

The director of the museum Giordano Bruno Guerri said the painting will stay on display. He told ANSA: "Our exhibition would not be complete without showing insanity."