Ancient Greek Art - Definition of expressionism

Topics: Expressionism, German Expressionism, Der Blaue Reiter Pages: 9 (2584 words) Published: April 6, 2013
I. Definition of Expressionism 2 II. Origin of the term 4 III. List of Expressionism artists 7 IV. Before Expressionism 9 V. After Expressionism 10 VI. Some of the most famous expressionist art works 13 VII. References 17

Definition of expressionism

xpressionism has meant different things at different the sense we use the term today certainly when we speak of “German expressionism”, it refers to a broad, cultural movement that emerged from Germany and Austria in the early 20th century. Yet expressionism is complex and contradictory. It encompassed the liberation of the body as much as the excavation of the psyche. Within its motley ranks could be found political apathy, even chauvinism as well as revolutionary commitment. Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionism was developed as an avant-garde style before the First World War. It remained popular during the Weimar Republic, particularly in Berlin. The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including painting, literature, theatre, dance, film, architecture and music. Expressionism took two major forms in Europe, including Fauvism and German Expressionism. Honour and Fleming describe the difference between the Germans and the French in the first decade of the 20th century: “Even more subjective than the Fauves, they [the Germans] sought spiritualization (Durchgeistigung) or the charging of everything with spiritual significance, with soul, their fervent nationalism and self-consciously anti-French bias...” The French movement of Expressionism surfaced in Paris with the first “event” of twentieth century art. In 1905, Les Fauves, French for “wild beasts,” exhibited their paintings at the Salon d’Automne. These works are described with words like distorted, anti-naturalistic, intense, vivid, and emotional. The Fauves were French artists. Some of them, including Matisse, were art students of professor, Gustave Moreau, at the Ecole des Beaux-Artes. Just like Surrealism would soon examine the dark side of the human mind, the German Expressionists reflected the influence of psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud. Art history traces German Expressionism also to 1906 with the Die Brucke (The Bridge) exhibition in Dresden. Ernest Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) was the leader of the group and the author of the manifesto. Expressionist pieces are full of vivid imagery and emotion with a touch of the dark side of human nature. While Matisse described his art as a rejection of Impressionism, the works of the Expressionists, Symbolists, Cubists, and Surrealists of the early twentieth century all show traces of Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism.

Origin of the term
While the word expressionist was used in the modern sense as early as 1850, its origin is sometimes traced to paintings exhibited in 1901 in Paris by an obscure artist Julien-Auguste Hervé, which he called Expressionismes. Though an alternate view is that the term was coined by the Czech art historian Antonin Matějček in 1910, as the opposite of impressionism: "An Expressionist wishes, above all, to express himself... (An Expressionist rejects) immediate perception and builds on more complex psychic structures... Impressions and mental images that pass through mental peoples soul as through a filter which rids them of all...

References: * ^ Chris Baldick Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, entry for Expressionism
* ^ a b Victorino Tejera, 1966, pages 85,140, Art and Human Intelligence, Vision Press Limited, London
* ^ The Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, 1976 edition, page 294
* ^ Garzanti, Aldo (1974) [1972] (in Italian)
* ^ John Willett, Expressionism. New York: World University Library, 1970, p.25; Richard Sheppard, "German Expressionism", in Modernism:1890-1930, ed. Bradbury & McFarlane, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1976, p.274.
* ^ cited in Donald E. Gordon, Expressionism: Art and Ideas. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987, p. 175.
* ^ Sherrill E. Grace, Regression and Apacaypse: Studies in North American Literary Expressionism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989, p.26).
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