In the history of art, the term expressionism (from the Latin. Expressio – “expression”) is applicable to a wide range of phenomena. And yet, as a definite trend in art, expressionism unites primarily the work of a group of artists who worked in Germany before the First World War.
Since the end of the XIX century. in German culture there was a special view on the work of art. It was believed that it should carry in itself only the will of the creator, to be created “by internal necessity,” which does not need comments and excuses. At the same time there was a reassessment of aesthetic values. There was an interest in the work of Gothic masters, El Greco, Peter Bruegel the Elder. The artistic merits of the exotic art of Africa, the Far East, and Oceania reopened. All this was reflected in the formation of a new trend in art. Expressionism is an attempt to show the inner world of a person, his experiences, as a rule, at the moment of extreme spiritual tension.
The first significant milestone in the history of expressionism is the emergence of the association “Bridge”. In 1905, four architect students from Dresden — Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleil, Erik Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rotluff — created something like a medieval guild commune — they lived and worked together. The name “Bridge” was suggested by Schmidt-Rottluff, believing that it expresses the group’s aspiration to unite all new artistic movements, and in a deeper sense it symbolizes its work – the “bridge” into the art of the future.
In 1906 they were joined by Emil Nolde, Max Pech-matte, Fauvist Kes van Dongen and other artists.
Although the union appeared immediately after the performance of the Parisian Fauves in the Autumn Salon, the representatives of the Most stated that they acted independently.
In Germany, as in France, the natural development of the visual arts led to a change in artistic methods. The expressionists also renounced chiaroscuro, the transfer of space. The surface of their canvases seems crafted with a rough brush without any concern for finesse. Artists sought new, aggressive images, sought to express anxiety, discomfort through painting. Color, expressionists considered, has its own meaning, is capable of evoking certain emotions, symbolic meanings are attributed to it.