Expressionism

1905-1925

Background

Expressionism started in Germany as a response to a change in society. New technologies were emerging, massive urbanization efforts were starting, and there was a widespread anxiety about how humanity's clashing relationship with the world.


Expressionism started with four German architecture students wanted to become painters. These artists started the group Die Brücke (The Bridge) in Dresden, and consisted of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, and Erich Heckel. Soon after, another group of artists formed Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) in Munich. The group included Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Paul Klee, August Macke, and others.


The main concept was that the art was meant to come from within the artist, and not from what was in front of him. It was more about the emotions and responses the object caused, and not the object itself.

Major Players

Die Brücke is a group of artists that are credited with starting the Expressionist movement. They chose the name to indict their desire to "bridge" the past and present. They took inspiration from previous German artists, and developed the modern example of artists like Van Gogh, Munch, and Matisse, by using sharp and clashing colors to jolt the viewer into experiencing a particular emotion.


Der Blaue Reiter is the other group of artists that participated in the Expressionist movement. The group's name referred to Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc's belief that blue was the most spiritual color, and the rider symbolized the ability to move beyond. They sought to exceed the mundane by pursuing the spiritual value of art, and their paintings were based around the idea that color and form contained spiritual values.

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Composition VIII

Wassily Kandinsky


I really like this piece because of how whimsical it is. I like how there are lots of lines in different angles, and some create other objects like triangles and boxes. I like how all the shapes are simple, basic geometric shapes, and I love how the color is used. Nothing is terribly intense, except for the purple circle. But since the purple circle is simple and solid, your eyes drift elsewhere, and the colors help create a sort of simple, relaxed flow. The lines create lots of movement all over the piece, which allow you to really focus your attention on every shape and part of the piece. I just really like all the lines and shapes and colors in the piece.