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Expressionism was a powerful artistic movement that erupted in the early 20th century, primarily in Germany and Austria. Unlike the Impressionists who aimed to capture fleeting moments of light and color, Expressionists were all about delving into the depths of human emotions.

Expressionist artists rejected the confines of realism and traditional beauty standards. Instead, they embraced distortion, bold colors, and exaggerated brushstrokes to convey the depths of human experience – from existential angst and societal critique to profound joy and spiritual yearning. Their canvases became battlegrounds for emotions, where swirling lines and vibrant hues wrestled with despair, alienation, and the anxieties of a rapidly changing world. Edvard Munch's iconic "The Scream" perfectly embodies this raw emotional intensity.

Expressionism wasn't only about angst - it was also a powerful tool for social commentary. Artists like Egon Schiele used their work to challenge beauty standards, explore themes of isolation, and examine the taboo and the grotesque.

The significance of Expressionism lies in its bold rejection of artistic conventions. It paved the way for future movements like Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism, and its influence can still be seen in contemporary art today. It challenged viewers to confront uncomfortable truths and engage with art on a deeper, more emotional level.

In a world often dominated by sterile perfection and superficiality, Expressionism reminds us of the power of raw emotion, the beauty of vulnerability, and the transformative potential of art that dares to scream.

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Did You Know?

Did you know that Expressionists, comprised primarily of Germans, became under attack during Hitler's rise to power before WWII? Their art was viewed as too leftist and avant-garde, and thus antithetical to the Nazi Party. Expressionists were eventually deemed "degenerate" by the Nazis. In 1937, many Expressionists had their art seized by the ruling Nazis and displayed in an infamous exhibition titled "Degenerate Art" in an attempt by the government to publicly humiliate and demonize Expressionist artists and the Expressionist movement.

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