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The Expressionist Movement Essay

1772 words - 7 pages

Between the nineteenth and twentieth century came a time of self-expression and reflection. This time became known as the Expressionism movement and focused on boldly creating a personal and emotional experience through art. Conventional artistic stylings were cast aside as each artist discovered their own creative voice. Artists of all mediums emphasized state of mind and the essence of the human condition through bold representations of their own psyche. Edvard Munch’s painting, “The Scream” and Fritz Lang’s film, “Metropolis,” both convey aggressive emotional characteristic of the Expressionist movement through exaggerated compositional elements, distorted stylistic choices and evocative technique.
Edvard Munch’s, “The Scream,” depicts a man’s inward scream in his piece in an unorthodox, provocative way through compositional choices. Munch reveals that his inspiration for his famous painting derived from an experience “walking with two friends . . . suddenly the sky turned blood-red. . . my friends walked on, and there I still stood, trembling with fear - and I sensed an endless scream passing through nature” (Munch)1. Munch’s experience contains an essence of melancholy with looming undertones of reclusiveness and hostility through bold color and harsh lines throughout the entire piece. The directness of Munch’s subject matter is bold as viewers relate to this “endless scream” that is so part of the natural element of the human condition (Munch). There is not an individual on this earth who has yet to feel completely overwhelmed and trapped in his or her life. Every person possesses an inner scream that their insecurities hide from society. Acting on such a natural reaction is typically looked down upon in our day yet not fighting that inner scream can create severe feelings of emptiness and entrapment. Munch’s painting creates a personal reaction that defines the Expressionist movement as it boldly depicts an innate emotional experience. Such a vehement reaction is triggered through the dark and swirling compositional elements of Munch’s piece.
Munch’s painting, “The Scream,” evokes such a strong, personal reaction from viewers by way of composition. Munch creates movement in his painting through line and color. Viewers are at first captivated by the red in the sky, as it is such a bold color. Through the sweeping lines in the sky, the viewer’s eye is led down to the darker evocative sight of the traumatized figure screaming. The dark figure seems entirely consumed by the darkness of the sky, creating an excruciating feeling of despondency. Munch contrasts the sharp, angular path with a vividly swirling nature. The line of the bridge leads viewers down the path that the two distant men are on and into the redness of the sky. The space between the screaming figure and the two walking men portrays a sense of alienation and stagnation. While other men are able to continue their journey through life, the screaming figure is so overwhelmed...

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