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A Reflection From The Inside: Expressionism

16 October 2019

A group of people who despised the fast paced developments in science and technology that followed the First World War, who valued nature, and who feared the loss of moral values came together in Germany against the Impressionist movement.

Not concerned to contribute anything personal to their works, Impressionists wanted only to present the reality, to simply show what they saw. Those tho opposed the impressionist aesthetic soon came to be known as Expressionists.

Reflecting not the world we already knew and saw but a new world, an unseen kind, Expressionism originated in Germany in the 20th century. The movement depends on the artists’ own way of seeing and expressing things. Method is of no particular importance as Expressionism focuses on expressing ideas and emotions.

Expressionism has shown itself in a rich variety of forms from painting to literature, music to cinema, architecture and sculpture. Among the movement’s leading artists were Edvard Munch, James Ensor, Oscar Kokoschka, Franz Kafka ve Robert Weine.

In painting, Expressionism appears in the form of lines, shapes, and exaggerated colors. Edvard Munch’s painting Scream is among the best and most widely known expressionist works. Groups such as Die Brücke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) were the force behind the movement’s emergence and development.

In literature, the effect of Expressionism can be found in many German novels written at the time. Franz Kafka’s works are considered to be Expressionist. The movement showed itself in poetry as well. Among the famous Expressionist poets were Georg Trakl, Georg Heym, Ernst Stadler ve Thomas S. Eliot.

In architecture, many would argue that the movement draws some parallels with the Bauhaus movement. However, it has its own dynamics. Individual -hence emotional- design approach is the foundation of expressionist architecture. Erich Mendelsohn’s Einstein Tower in Berlin Potsdam and the interior decoration of Hans Poelzig’s Große Schauspielhaus were inspired by Expressionist movement.

With the rise of the Nazi Germany, Expressionism ceased to exist. Many expressionists died in the World War Two.

Today, Expressionism is mixed together with other movements such as cubism, minimalism and futurism and continues to be of influence as an art movement.


A Reflection From The Inside: Expressionism