Investigate the art movement of 'expressionism'

Essay by Be_A_ButterflyCollege, UndergraduateA-, May 2006

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I have chosen to explore the movement of expressionism, as this is the period of art that has most influenced my own work. I knew a little about the artists that worked in the expressionist style and the little that I did know has driven me to want to explore this style of painting in more depth.

Expressionism is a style of art in which the emotional content of the piece takes precedence over the form. It is a subjective view of the world that stresses the artist's emotional attitude towards himself and the world. Forms are often simplified or flattened, and colour is used in a symbolic way that abandons the semblance of realism.

Although the term expressionism was not applied to painting until 1911, the qualities attributed to expressionism are found in the art of almost every country and period.

It could be said that the roots of expressionism began in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries when Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch used violent colours and exaggerated lines to obtain intense emotional expression.

An expressionist artist tries to present an emotional experience in its most compelling form. The artist is not concerned with reality as it appears, but with its inner nature, and with the emotions aroused by the subject. To achieve these ends, the subject is frequently caricatured, exaggerated, distorted or otherwise altered in order to express the emotional experience in its most concentrated form.

After looking at the roots of expressionism and then expressionism itself, I will continue to follow the movement through the 20th century when it fragmented and the art of the abstract expressionists came into prominence.

To me, expressionism and abstract expressionism are the most interesting movements in the history of art; I'm drawn in and captivated by the...