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Expressionism Paintings

Expressionism is a term that embraces an early 20th century style of art, music and literature that is charged with an emotional and spiritual vision of the world. Expressionism is associated with Northern Europe in general and Germany in particular. The Expressionist spirit has always existed in the German psyche. At the end of the 19th century, this Expressionist spirit resurfaced in the paintings of two awkward and isolated personalities - one was the Dutchman, Vincent Van Gogh and the other a Norwegian, Edvard Munch. While the Impressionists were admiring the colour and beauty of the natural landscape, Van Gogh and Munch took a radically different perspective. They chose to look inwards to discover a form of 'self-expression' that offered them an individual voice in a world that they perceived as both insecure and hostile. It was this more subjective search for a personal emotional truth that drove them on and ultimately paved the way for the Expressionist art forms of the 20th century that explored the inner landscape of the soul. Paintings like Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' (1888) opened our eyes to the intensity of expressive color. He used color to express his feelings about a subject, rather than to simply describe it. Munch's painting of 'The Scream' (1893) was equally influential. It provides us with a psychological blueprint for Expressionist art: distorted shapes and exaggerated colors that amplify a sense of anxiety and alienation.

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