Geschrei (The Scream)
Image courtesy of
The National Gallery of Art, U.S.A
Expressionism as a movement was born in Germany when several students joined to form an artistic community with a shared awareness for social situations. The called themselves "Die Brucke," German for "the bridge." Their work was about meaning and expression rather than the portrayal of something as one sees it, hence the term Expressionism. The movement eventually spread, and more groups formed, including Der Blaue Reiter, or "the blue rider." Expressionism was very social, the artists were radical, many of whom never had any artistic training.
Effect on Faces and Figures:
Expressionism is stylistically similar to Fauvism in that bright colors are used freely and are generally not representational of the subject's real color. Expressionist artists also used expressive brushstrokes in their paintings, and printmaking became an important medium.
The figure, as a subject, not only contains unusual colors but also lost its Renaissance proportions. Figures were distorted, often turning in an awkward way, or had a head too large for its body. Faces and other planes were simplified and harsh lines often played an important role in defining features.
Max Pechstien, Edvard Munch, Ernest Ludwig Kirchner, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, August Macke, Paul Klee