Expressionistic

DEFINITION

A characteristic of some art, generally since the mid-19th century, leaning toward the expression of emotion over objective description. James Ensor, Edvard Munch and Vincent Van Gogh were perhaps the first expressionists, though there was not really a movement per se, but individual artists. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, expressionism became widely espoused, particularly by German and Austrian artists, such as Emil Nolde, Kirchner, Gustav Klimt, and others. Though there is variation, certain characteristics predominate: bright, even garish, color; harsh contrasts of black and white (as in woodcuts); exaggeration of form; and distortion or elongation of figures. There are still many artists whose work has expressionistic tendencies; in the 1980's there was a period of art called Neo-Expressionist. (The word 'neo' before an art label means that there is a reprise of work similar to the original movement.)

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