EXPRESSIONISM German and Northern European Art in Context. Die Brucke (The Bridge).
The European Context -Expressionism• In the north of Europe, the Fauves celebration of colour was pushed to new emotional and psychological depths. Expressionism, as it was generally known, developed almost simultaneously in different countries from about 1905.• Characterized by heightened, symbolic colours and exaggerated imagery, it was German Expressionism in particular that tended to dwell on the darker, sinister aspects of the human psyche.• Movement that emphasizes the expression of inner experience rather than solely realistic portrayal, seeking to depict not objective reality but the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in the artist.• In a broader sense Expressionism is one of the main currents of art in the later 19th and the 20th centuries, and its qualities of highly subjective, personal, spontaneous self-expression are typical of a wide range of modern artists and art movements.
The Historical Context –ExpressionismExpressionism can also be seen as a permanent tendency in Germanic and Nordic art from at least the European Middle Ages, particularly in times of social change or spiritual crisis, and in this sense it forms the converse of the rationalist and classicizing tendencies of Italy and later of France.
Matthias Grünewald Isenheim AltarpieceMatthias Grünewald The Meeting of StAnthony Abbot and St Paul in the Wilderness.1512-16A panel from the Isenheim Altarpiece
Matthias Grünewald, (1475-1528).• Highly regarded figure from the German Renaissance. Known for the visionary character of his work, with its expressive colour and line.• He rejected the classicism of the Renaissance ushered in for the expressiveness he became known for.
This type of scene is one that tended to preoccupy Grünewald. We can see in this work the expressive and brutal reality that appealed to the Die Brucke artists. The tormented individual, dealing with the harsh reality that his world throws at him.The Temptation of St Anthony fromthe Isenheim Alterpiece.
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)German painter, printmaker,draughtsman and art theorist,generally regarded as the greatestGerman Renaissance artist.Vast body of work includesaltarpieces and religious works,numerous portraits and self-portraits,and copper engravings.Raised woodcut to a level of fine art.His woodcuts, such as theApocalypse series, retain a more Self-Portrait at 28 (Self-Gothic flavour than the rest of his Portrait in Furcoat) Oil onwork. panel, 67 x 49 cm
Innovation of line that broadens and thins While an important painter, in his own day Dürer was renowned foremost for his graphic works. Artists across Europe admired and copied Dürers innovative and powerful prints, ranging from religious and mythological Above left: Rhinocerous. 1515. woodcut. scenes, to maps and exotic Above: The four horsemen of the apocalypse. animals. 1497-98. Woodcut.
Gothic ArtExpressionist artists,especially Die Bruckeartists, were influencedby Gothic architecture.They were interested inthe elongated, drawn-out features of this time.
Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Norweigan• Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intense, evocative treatment of psychological and emotional themes was a major influence on the development of German Expressionism.• Was his countrys greatest artist. His work often included the symbolic portrayal of such themes as misery, sickness, and death.
Edvard Munch, Puberty 1895• Based around a strong horizontal and a vertical.• The shadow creates a scene that heightens the frail, unsafe and insecure nature of the naked girl.• Lewd air of suggestiveness erased by the ominous shadow and sense of tender frailness.• Dark oversized shadow is thought to be a metaphor expressive of the remembered past and the death Munch experienced in his own family.• It also suggests the menace of the future that lies beyond the youthful years.• We can perceive in her wide open eyes and the crossing of her arms over her body an awakening of sexuality and a sense of being at the mercy of the unknown…fear/sexuality.
Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893;Casein/waxed crayon and tempera on paper (cardboard), 91 x 73.5 cm
Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893• His most famous work, a study of existential anguish.• A key idea to sum up this work is that we see the fear and loneliness of a man in a natural setting which, far from offering any kind of consolation, picks up the scream and echoes it into the bay beyond.• Skeleton like head suggests death.• Wavy lines, like Van Gogh, suggest emotional instability.• This is also evident in the surroundings which suggests a fear of being engulfed in further pain and hostility.
Die Brücke• From Dresden around 1905, the group was formed by four architecture students (Kirchner, Heckel, Bleyl, Schmidt-Rottluff).• Wanted their art to serve as a bride to the art of the future, especially in regards to Nietzsche’s philosophy.• Interested in Japanese prints because of the strange viewpoints exhibited.• Interested in shaking bourgeois German culture out of it complacency through their use of colour and subject matter.
Germany and Colonialism• As Germany was not unified until 1871, colonisation was stunted when compared to countries like France, England, the Netherlands, and Belgium.• When they finally got to colonising they were only able to gain parts of Africa (Cameroons and Togo, Namibia, Riwanda, Burundi) and the South Pacific (Samoa, New Guinea, Mariana Islands, and Nauru)• This fuelled their interest in Primitivism (angular faces with pointed chins, full lips, exaggerated gestures and poses, lack of concern with proportions, and nudity.
Albrecht Dürer Mattias Grünewald Gothic Style Jagged Shapes German Medieval and Renaissance Art WOODCUT Fauvism Pictorial aims vs. Die Brücke forceful expression of F. Dresden 1905 emotional content Interest in thehuman condition Primitivism Post-Impressionism Edvard Munch Vincent Van Gogh Paul Gauguin Japanese Paul Cezanne Art
Kirchner, The Drinker, Heckel, Two Men Kirchner,(Self-Portrait), 1915. at the Table, 1911 Peter Schlemihl: Conflict, 1915. Intense and highly personal subject matter depicted with emotive use of colour Die Brücke F. Dresden 1905 Painting as a medium for social message Freedom from traditional Enamoured with an Work executed intuitively paintingunderworld of crime and to capture a freshness of techniques prostitution sensation Schmidt-Rotluff, Summer, Heckel,Kirchner, Five women in the 1913. Nolde, Dance Around Brickworks 1907 Street, 1913. the Golden Calf, 1910.
Pure colours with harsh Strong use of Black outlinescontrasts used forexpressive purposes Die Brücke F. Dresden 1905 Distortion of figures and Rough drawing style forms
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