EXPRESSIONISM. What you must know!

EXPRESSIONISM. What you must know!

Expressionism is an art movement born and developed in Germany between 1905 and 1933. It expresses the artist’s emotions more than objective reality. It shows the drama at that time generated by modernization. It uses exaggeration to create and emotional impact in the viewer. Light does not matter nor does perspective. The colors are pure and the shapes distorted. All of the elements make an aggressive composition.

This movement reacts to impressionism. It is used to critize social and political decisions at that time in Germany. There are two specific groups in Germany that can be considered as Expressionists. One is  “Die Brücke” (The Bridge) created in 1905 in the city of Dresden by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Fritz Bleyl, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. And the other is “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider) found in Munich in 1911 by  Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, and Franz Marc, August Macke and Gabriele Münter.


The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch is one of the most recognize pieces of this movement. It is the expression of personal fear. In this piece Munch expresses the apprehension that a man feels in a world that is more complex every day. He recalls “the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence…shivering with fear. Then I heard the enormous, infinite scream of nature.”


The Dream (1912) by Franz Marc This piece describes a balance between men and nature and even though it is based on reality it is not in a realistic mode. It shows a woman in the middle of the composition whit her head leaned showing that she is sleeping.  A lion and horses surround the woman.


Self-Portrait As a Soldier (1915) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, This piece shows Krichner standing with empty eyes facing the spectator. He looks confident and relaxed, holding a cigarette in his right hand. He is mutilated and that emphasizes the agony and crisis that the artist felt. The woman in the background represents that he is no longer interested in woman because he is in pain.


 Portrait of a Man (1919) by Erich Heckel, This woodcut printing shows a man in green with his hands clasped to each other. This piece describes the impressions that war and devastation of the time left. His worried face is a sing of the nation and personal crisis.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.