German Expressionism

Topics: Expressionism, World War II, German Expressionism Pages: 2 (700 words) Published: November 20, 2012
14 October 2012
Graphic Design

German Expressionism

The Expressionism movement started in Germany in 1905 before World War 1 and ended in the late 1930s. Expressionism peaked in 1923. By the end of 1923, politically motivated attacks against modern art had begun, and Expressionist cinema began. Expressionist cinema was showed that cinema could also be an art form, and not just entertainment. Under the influence of German Expressionism artists, Germany became the most innovative and influential center for cinema until 1933. These films were a major contributor to the Horror genre. While the movement thrived in Germany, the Nazis opposed expressionism. Persecution led to the movement's decline, and many expressionist artists fled to other countries to escape oppression.

Expressionism is characterized by showing the subconscious feelings of the characters. Naturalism was avoided instead it shows an abstract view of certain characteristics. Artists used large shapes and thick outlines rather than natural shading and colors. Shapes are stretched and twisted. Subjects are portrayed as grim and in tense poses. This art style translates into movies by elements of German Expression found in the films are surrealistic settings
, distorted landscapes
, heavy use of light and shadow
, dreamlike, depressing atmosphere, and themes of horror, death, and dark fantasy. Their goal: to liberate the mind of the individual from the oppression that rationalism imposed on an industrial society -- an oppression that became more and more powerful as the National Socialists grew in power." (Art & Culture Network) In addition to the German directors who fled to Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s, many German actors from German Expressionism films arrived there as well. Käthe Kollwitz was born on 8 July 1867, the daughter of Karl Schmidt, a master mason and preacher of the free-religious community in Königsberg. She attended the School for Women Artists in Berlin,...
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