Expressionism was one of the most prominent and influential art styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This art style can be generally characterized by its depiction of deep human emotions, which were often represented through distortion, exaggeration, and fantasy. Due to these characteristics, expressionism is often compared to impressionism, a genre of art that also demonstrated its strong presence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Unlike expressionism, however, impressionism sought to depict the essence of a scene with the use of light. Accordingly, expressionist practitioners believed that impressionist artworks lacked depth. And, here is one piece of art that can explain what expressionism is all about.
The aforementioned painting is titled Melancholy, which was produced by renowned Norwegian painter Edvard Munch in multiple versions. This oil painting mainly depicts a pensive man who is sitting at the edge of a shoreline while resting his chin on his hand, perfectly matching the title. The landscape that is portrayed in the painting is a shoreline situated in Asgardstrand, Norway, where Munch is known to have spent most of his time between 1889 and 1905. Although the landscape was related to Munch’s real life, the overall subject of the painting was not. Munch’s inspiration for the painting’s subject was an unpleasant romantic affair that was experienced by one of his close friends, Jappe Nilssen. Nilssen experienced great despair and hopelessness after he was caught in a love triangle with a married woman named Oda Krohg. In addition to displaying the overwhelming human emotion in the painting, the figure’s sad mood is also represented through the application of vivid colors as well as the depiction of undulating patterns ? two of the most famous characteristics of expressionism.
Yejin Hwang Staff Reporter
1. How can expressionism be generally characterized?
2. How does impressionism differ from expressionsim?
3. What does the art work "Melacholy" depict?
1. What are your thoughts on expressionism? What do you like or dislike about it?
2. What are your thoughts on impressionism? What do you like or dislike about it?
3. What do you think about the subject of the painting "Melancholy?"
4. What does this painting make you feel?