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Syllabification: ex·pres·sion·ism
Pronunciation: /ikˈspreSHəˌnizəm

Definition of expressionism in English:


A style of painting, music, or drama in which the artist or writer seeks to express emotional experience rather than impressions of the external world.

Expressionists characteristically reject traditional ideas of beauty or harmony and use distortion, exaggeration, and other nonnaturalistic devices in order to emphasize and express the inner world of emotion. The paintings of El Greco and Grünewald exemplify expressionism in this broad sense, but the term is also used of a late-19th- and 20th-century European and specifically German movement tracing its origins to Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and James Ensor, which insisted on the primacy of the artist’s feelings and mood, often incorporating violence and the grotesque

Example sentences
  • He developed an idiosyncratic, instantly recognizable style that combined figurative expressionism with influences from Klimt, Schiele and Austrian Art Nouveau.
  • This is a magical piece of theatre, with a streak of engaging, sly humour and playfulness that takes you into a theatrical world where naturalism and expressionism, realism and surrealism sit side by side.
  • We readily take the cinema as an expressionist medium because expressionism (broadly understood) takes the inside of people and projects it outward into the external world.



noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • Klee's friendship with Kandinsky prompted him to join Der Blaue Reiter, an expressionist group pivotal to the development of abstract art.
  • Earlier expressionists turned to tribal art to find the inspiration to distort the body in ways that could convey modern despair and agony.
  • Van Gogh expressed psychological turmoil through expressionist contrasts of violent colour.


Pronunciation: /ikˌspreSHəˈnistik/
Example sentences
  • The wall text surrounding these works is minimal, emphasizing her importance as an art teacher and her expressionistic style.
  • While the artist previously exhibited expressionistic portraits of ordinary working people, the new works focus on the brutalist impersonality of over-bearing urban facades.
  • The National Museum in Hanoi is filled with works of this kind, as well as a number of cubistic and expressionistic works by Vietnamese artists who adapted aspects of European art movements.


Pronunciation: /ikˌspreSHəˈnistik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • It was at Manhufe that he produced some of his most innovative imagery, including a series of expressionistically intense watercolors.
  • Figures are treated expressionistically as a vehicle to explore the artist's feeling.
  • This also happens with a two-part panel titled Painting Painting, on which horizontal bands of expressionistically painted reds and yellows run rather muddily down onto the painting's blank lower half.

Definition of expressionism in:

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