What is the meaning of Expressionism? Concept, Definition of Expressionism

Definition of Expressionism

Here you will find one or more meanings in your language for the word or expression Expressionism. As well as definitions of the pages of Wikipedia and other websites related to the word Expressionism and, of course, synonym of Expressionism with the appropriate related images using the term Expressionism.

1. Concept of Expressionism

He is designated with the term of expressionism that cultural movement born in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century that took its manifestation in various fields of art as music, cinema, theatre, dance, photography, although his first and foremost expression is found in the paint.
Rather than impose a style with common characteristics respected by all his followers, expressionism was an eminently heterogeneous movement convened by different artists with different trends formations and intellectual levels, but with a coincidence: the reaction in common against the tenets of Impressionism, i.e. basically emerged as an opposite to this.
The Expressionists, basically defended a more intuitive and personal, art where you send is the inner vision of the artist, the expression versus print.
Generally, expressionism interprets it is as a deformation of reality to express in the most subjective way possible both nature and human beings, giving priority to the expression of feelings rather than to the description objective things and reality.
Making use of violent, strong colors and appropriating issues such as poverty and loneliness, expressionism was a vehicle to express all that bitterness and sadness that dominated the artistic and intellectual circle of the Germany in the pre war, during it and the post war time.
This dominant bitterness was transformed into desire for wanting to change life, explore new dimensions in the imagination and renovation of the prevailing artistic languages so far.
Its most important representatives include: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Gabriele Münter and Alfred Kubin, among others.

2 Meaning of Expressionism

Expressionism is the name, used in Germany since 1910, to designate those artists that moving away from the traditional criteria, especially the impressionism, sought to reflect the reality, no longer in way similar to it, but fearless, passionate to binge, exaggerated and sudden, for example, in the picture at the time of the Weimar Republic, trying to reflect the intimacy or sense of what is playing, and the photographer himself.
Expressionism took place during a war, crisis, tragedy and bitterness that erupted in art. There is no respect for perspective, no forms, no lighting; the colors are loud.
It is an art that me especially in the German North, as well as Cubism was characteristic of France. Example of expressionism was Kandinsky, abstraction which led to its maximum deployment, and who published a book in 1912, entitled "on the spiritual in art". However, the best known of the German Expressionists was Franz Marc (1880-1916), whose works, first in the Impressionist style, dazzled by the animal nature, then they become more and more abstract and lyrical. Along with Kadinsky, he founded a group called "The Blue Rider".
But Expressionism is not limited to Germany. In Spain we can enroll in this movement to Pablo Picasso, in several of his works, starting from 1930 ("head of a woman crying with scarf", "Head of a Faun" or "The supplicant") but never was assigned to the movement. In France we have Georges Roualt (1871-1958) painted with cynicism and sometimes tragically, scenes of the Parisian slums and religious themes.
"The scream" by Norwegian painter Edward Munich (1863-1944) expresses a violence desperate, showing the man in his solitude and fear to an uncertain and complicated reality.
In addition to include the painting and photography, expressionism was extended to music, theatre, cinema and literature.

3. Definition of Expressionism

Expressionism was a cultural movement emerged in Germany in the early 20th century, which took shape in a number of fields: Arts plastic, literature, music, cinema, theatre, dance, photography, etc. Its first manifestation was in the field of painting, coinciding in time with the emergence of the French, made Fauvism that became both artistic movements in the early exponents of the so-called "historical avant-gardes". More than a style with common characteristics was a heterogeneous movement, an attitude and a way of understanding the art that brought together several artists of trends very diverse and different training and intellectual level. Emerged as a reaction to Impressionism, naturalism and the positivist character of this movement of late 19th century Expressionists defended a more personal and intuitive, art where the inner vision of the artist - "expression" - against the depiction of reality - the "print" - like.Expressionism is usually be understood as a deformation of reality to express more subjective nature and human beings, giving primacy to the expression of feelings rather than objective description of reality. Understood in this way, expressionism can be extrapolated to any time and geographical space. Thus, often is described as expressionist the work of various authors such as Matthias Grünewald, Pieter Brueghel el Viejo, El Greco, and Francisco de Goya. Some historians to distinguish it, write "Expressionism" - lowercase - and generic term "Expressionism" - uppercase - to the German movement.
With its violent colors and theme of loneliness and misery, expressionism reflected the bitterness that invaded the artistic and intellectual circles of the pre-war Germany, as well as the first World War (1914-1918) and between the wars (1918-1939). That bitterness provoked a vehement desire to change life, search for new dimensions to the imagination and renew the artistic languages. Expressionism championed individual freedom, the primacy of subjective expression, the irrationality, the passion and forbidden topics - the morbid, demonic, sexual, fantastic or pervert-. He tried to reflect a subjective view, an emotional distortion of reality, through the expressive character of the plastic media, which claimed a metaphysical significance, opening the senses to the inner world. Understood as a genuine expression of the German soul, Existentialist character, its metaphysical yearning and the tragic vision of the human being in the world did you reflection of an existential concept released to the world of the spirit and concern for the life and the death, conception that is often described as "Nordic" by joining the temperament that topically is identified with the stereotype of the countries of Northern Europe. Reflection of the historical circumstances in which unfolded, expressionism revealed the pessimistic side of life, the existential anguish of the individual, that in modern society, industrialized, is alienated, isolated. Thus, through the distortion of reality they wanted to impact the Viewer, to reach his most emotional and inner side.
Expressionism was not a homogeneous movement, but of great stylistic diversity: there is a modernist Expressionism (Munch), Fauvist (Rouault), Cubist and futurist (Die Brücke), surrealist (Klee), abstract (Kandinsky), etc. Although its major hub of broadcasting occurred in Germany, is also perceived in other artists European (Modigliani, Chagall, Soutine, Permeke) and American (Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros, Portinari). It was organized mainly around two groups in Germany: Die Brücke (founded in 1905), and Der Blaue Reiter (founded in 1911), although there were some artists not attached to any group. After the first world war appeared called new objectivity, which even though it emerged as a rejection to the expressionist individualism defending a more social nature of art, its formal distortion and its intense colour direct heirs to the expressionist generation make them.


Ecce homo (1925), Lovis Corinth, Basel Art Gallery.

The transition from the 19th century to the 20th century led to numerous political, social and cultural changes. On the one hand, the political and economic rise of the bourgeoisie, who lived in the last decades of the 19th century (la Belle Époque) a moment of great splendor, reflected in Art Nouveau, art movement at the service of luxury and ostentation deployed by the new ruling class. However, the revolutionary processes carried out since the French Revolution (the latter, in 1871, the Paris Commune failed) and fear that they are our took the political classes to make a series of concessions, including the labor reforms, social insurance and compulsory basic education. Thus, the decrease in illiteracy behaved media increased and wider dissemination of cultural phenomena, which acquired greater range and faster dissemination, emerging "mass culture".
On the other hand, technical advances, especially in the field of art the emergence of photography and cinema, led the artist to consider their job function, which was already not to imitate reality, because new techniques did more objectively, easy and reproducible. Also, the new scientific theories led to artists to question the objectivity of the world we perceive: the theory of relativity of Einstein, the psychoanalysis of Freud and the subjectivity of the time of Bergson provoked that the artist away more and more of the reality. Thus, the search for new artistic languages and new forms of expression behaved the emergence of avant-garde movements, which resulted in a new relationship of the artist with the spectator: avant-garde artists sought to integrate art with life, society, make an expression of the collective unconscious of the society that represents his work. At the same time, the interaction with the viewer causes that this is involved in the perception and understanding of the work, as well as its dissemination and commercialization, factor that will lead to a further boom of museums and art galleries.
Expressionism is part of the so-called "historical avant-gardes", i.e. those produced since the early years of the 20th century, in the environment prior to the first world war, until the end of the second World War (1945). This denomination includes, in addition, Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, constructivism, neo, Dadaism, surrealism, etc. The vanguard is inextricably linked to the concept of modernity, characterized by the end of determinism and the supremacy of the religion, replaced by reason and science, Objectivism and individualism, confidence in technology and progress, in the capacities of the human being. Thus, artists seek to put at the forefront of social progress, expressed through his work the evolution of the contemporary human being.
The term "Expressionism" was used for the first time by the French painter Julien-Auguste Hervé, which used the word "expressionisme" to designate a series of paintings presented at the Paris Salon of the independents in 1901, as opposed to Impressionism. The German term "expressionismus" was adapted directly from the French - German expression is 'ausdruck'-, using for the first time in the catalog of the XXII exhibition of the Berlin secession in 1911, which included both works by German artists like French. In literature, it was applied for the first time in 1911 critic Kurt Hiller. Subsequently, the term Expressionism was diffused by the writer Herwarth Walden, editor of the journal Der Sturm (the storm), which became the main diffuser Center of German expressionism. Walden initially applied the term to all the Vanguards that emerged between 1910 and 1920. On the other hand, the application of the term Expressionism linked exclusively to the German avant-garde art was Paul Fechter idea in his book Der Expressionismus (1914), which according to the theories of Worringer related new artistic manifestations as an expression of the soul collective German.

Tyrol (1914), Franz Marc, Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, Munich.
Expressionism arose as a reaction to Impressionism: as well as the Impressionists embodied on the canvas an "impression" of the surrounding world, merely a reflection of the senses, the Expressionists sought to reflect his inner world, an "expression" of their own feelings. Thus, the Expressionists used line and color of a temperamental and emotional way of strong symbolic content. This reaction against Impressionism was a strong break with the art produced by the preceding generation, becoming a synonym of modern art to Expressionism during the early years of the 20th century. Expressionism was a new concept of art, understood as a way of capturing the existence, shows through the substrate that underlying reality apparent, reflect the immutable and eternal of human beings and nature in images. Thus, expressionism was the starting point of a process of transmutation of reality that crystallized in the art Informel and abstract expressionism. The Expressionists used art as a way to reflect their feelings, their mood, prone state in general to the melancholy, evocation, to a neo-romantic cutting 1919–20. Thus, art was an experience cathartic, where the spiritual relief, are purified the vital anguish of the artist.
In the genesis of expressionism a key factor was the rejection of positivism, the scientistic progress, belief in the limitless possibilities of the human being based on Science and technology. On the other hand, began to create a new climate of pessimism, skepticism, of discontent, criticism, loss of values. Be seen a crisis in human development, that fact was confirmed with the outbreak of the first world war. Also noteworthy in Germany the rejection of the imperialist regime of Guillermo II by an intellectual minority, drowned out by the pangerman militarism of the kaiser. These factors led to a breeding ground where it was progressively brewing Expressionism, whose first demonstrations occurred in the field of literature: Frank Wedekind denounced in his works the moral bourgeois, front which opposed the passionate freedom of the instincts; Georg Trakl evaded reality taking refuge in a spiritual world created by the artist; Heinrich Mann was who more directly denounced Wilhelmine society.
The emergence of expressionism in a country like Germany was not a random act, but it is explained by the deep study dedicated to art during the 19th century by German theorists, philosophers and artists, from romanticism and the multiple contributions to the field of aesthetics of characters such as Wagner and Nietzsche, to cultural aesthetics and the work of authors such as Konrad Fiedler (to prosecute works of visual art1876), Theodor Lipps (aesthetics, 1903-1906) and Wilhelm Worringer (abstraction and empathy, 1908). This theoretical current left a deep imprint in the late 19th century and early 20th German artists, focused mostly on need to express the artist (the "innerer Drang" or inner need, beginning that subsequently took Kandinsky), as well as the finding of a rupture between the artist and the outside world, the environment that surrounds it, fact that makes it become an introvert and alienated from society. Also influenced the change in the cultural environment of the time, which moved away from the Greco-Roman classical taste to admire art popular, primitive and exotic - above all, Africa, Oceania and East - end, as well as medieval art and the work of artists such as Grünewald, Brueghel and El Greco.

Circus rider (1913), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.
In Germany, expressionism was more a theoretical concept, an ideological proposal, that not an artistic collective agenda, although there is a stylistic stamp common to all its members. Against the prevailing academic in the official art centers, the Expressionists is grouped around various centers for the dissemination of new art, especially in cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Hanover and Dresden. Also its diffuser work through publications, galleries and exhibitions helped extend the new style by all Germany and later throughout Europe. It was a heterogeneous movement which, apart from the diversity of its manifestations, in different languages and artistic mediums, presented numerous differences and even contradictions in her womb, with great stylistic and thematic divergence between the various groups that emerged over time, and even artists that were part of them. Even the chronological and geographical limits of this power are vague: while the first expressionist generation (Die Brücke, Der Blaue Reiter) was the most emblematic, new objectivity and the export of the movement to other countries was its continuity in time until at least the second world war; geographically, although the nerve centre of this style stood in Germany, soon spread to other European countries and even in the American continent.
After the first world war Expressionism spent in Germany of the painting to the cinema and the theatre, used the expressionist style in his sets, but form purely aesthetic, not its original meaning, subjectivity and tearing of the Expressionist painters, which paradoxically became cursed artists. With the advent of Nazism, expressionism was considered to be "degenerate art" (Entartete Kunst), relating it to communism and branding it immoral and subversive, at the time considered that its ugliness and artistic inferiority were a sign of the decadence of modern art (the author, on the other hand, had been an artistic movement which had certain development). In 1937 was organized an exhibition in the Hofgarten in Munich with the title exactly degenerate art, with the aim of seeming despise it and show to the public the low quality of art produced in the Weimar Republic. For this purpose were confiscated some 16,500 works of various museums, not only of German artists, but of foreigners as Gauguin, Van Gogh, Munch, Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Chagall, etc. Most of these works were later sold to gallery owners and dealers, especially in a major auction held in Lucerne in 1939, although some 5,000 of those works were directly destroyed in March 1939, assuming a notable detriment to German art.
After the second world war Expressionism disappeared as style, while heir to the artists of Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter exerted a powerful influence on many artistic movements of the second half of the century, as the American abstract expressionism (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning), informalism (Jean Fautrier, Jean Dubuffet), the CoBrA Group (Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, Corneille, Pierre Alechinsky) and German neo-Expressionism - directlywhich is reflected in its name-, and individual artists like Francis Bacon, Antonio Saura, Bernard Buffet, Nicolas de Staël, Horst before, etc.