Share this entry

Share this page

expressionism

Line breaks: ex|pres¦sion|ism
Pronunciation: /ɪkˈsprɛʃ(ə)nɪz(ə)m
 
, ɛk-/

Definition of expressionism in English:

noun

[mass noun]
A style of painting, music, or drama in which the artist or writer seeks to express the inner world of emotion rather than external reality.
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.

Expressionists characteristically reject traditional ideas of beauty or harmony and use distortion, exaggeration, and other non-naturalistic devices in order to express emotional states. 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

Definition of expressionism in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something