Expressionism (4 page, in depth, w/artists, w/o pics, 4 sources)

Essay by da_vannyHigh School, 12th gradeA+, June 2005

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-a new impression on art-

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." -Aristotle

Expressionism emerged from about 1905 all over Europe, but especially in Germany. It is generally characterized by heightened, symbolic colors and exaggerated imagery, but some pieces show darker, sinister aspects of the human psyche and are most often reffered to as German Expressionism.

In general, an expressionistic work sets subjective feelings above objective observations and wants to express the artists state of mind rather than the reality.

Since emotion is so different for everybody, expressionism took lots of different paths, so that the term expressionism became very broad.

Yet, three movements stand out as the "main outlets", because of their strikingly unique appearance and broad acceptance.

The bridge to the future

Die Brücke (The Bridge) was the first of a few Expressionist movements that emerged in Germany in the early decades of the 20th century.

In 1905 a group of German Expressionist artists came together in Dresden and took that name chosen to indicate their faith in the art of the future, towards which their work would serve as a bridge. In practice they were not a optimistic group, and their art became an angst-ridden type of Expressionism.

The artists of Die Brücke drew inspiration from van Gogh, Gauguin and Munch. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the leading spirit of Die Brücke, wanted German art to be a bridge to the future. He insisted that the group, "express inner convictions... with sincerity and spontaneity".

Even at their wildest, the Fauves had retained a sense of harmony and design, but Die Brücke abandoned such restraint. They used images of the modern city to convey a hostile world, with distorted figures and colors. Kirchner does just this in Berlin Street...