Expressionism in Art: Key Facts, Famous Artists, and Artworks You Should Look

This entry was posted on July 20, 2023 by Gauri Thoyakkat.

Expressionism in Art

Expressionism was one of the influential art movements that emerged in the early 20th century. It was an art movement that was capable of having a profound impact on the art world .

Expressionism got characterized by its bold use of color, distorted forms, and an emphasis the paintings gave on emotions and individual experiences. The movement and its followers rejected all the traditional artistic conventions like some of its predecessors and sought to capture the inner world of the artist's psyche.

This article will help you explore the facts, famous artists, and artworks of Expressionism. It will discuss the history and philosophy behind this movement and explore the techniques and styles used by Expressionist painters. It will also highlight some of the most influential artists and works that came out of the movement.

Let’s examine the lasting impact the term Expressionism had on modern art. Whether you are an art enthusiast or curious about this fascinating movement, this article can comprehensively introduce the art movement and how Expressionism developed in art.

What Is Expressionism In Art?

Expressionism is a type of art style and a movement that focuses on emotions and subjective feelings in the work of art. This style of art was in direct contrast with the other types of paintings of the late 19th century and early twentieth century. The prominent art style of the time focused on realism and objectivity.

What Is Expressionism In Art?

Source: Studiobinder

The rise of the term expressionism art and expressionist artists were, therefore, a reaction and a rejection of the prominent style of the time - realism. The world was changing rapidly in the early 20th century, which also played a significant role in the rise of the expressionism art style.

Expressionism art cannot be considered an art movement but more of an international tendency. The Expressionism art style was highly influential in the twentieth century and was a part of multiple fields such as art, literature, music, and even architecture. Expressionist artists wished to show and express emotional experiences instead of the physical world around them captured accurately.

Expressionism art is vast and complex and could mean different things based on its context. However, if we use the word 'Expressionist art,' we will think about the tendency in response to other styles. For example, it contrasts the impressionist art techniques or style in France or the early twentieth-century art movement that arose in Austria and Germany.

In France, Vincent Van Gogh, the Dutch painter, was showing his unusual, colorful, and troubled psyche. In Germany, Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian artist, was searching for spirituality in art as a remedy for the alienation faced by man in the modern world. In Austria, two artists named Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele were fighting against the moral hypocrisy shown by society by taking on topics such as death, sexuality, and violence.

Edvard Munch, one of the most prominent artists of the Expressionist movement, pushed the boundaries of impressionism art all over Europe, using intense expressions to reveal his psyche and the environment around him.

Expressionist artists wanted to show the world from a subjective perspective by using distorted forms and intense colors. At the same time, they were showing emotional themes that revealed and expressed the artist's inner feelings, ideas, and psyche. By distorting the subjects and the colors, the artists were able to create an emotional effect and evoke mood.

The use of exaggerated and distorted forms created drama and tension in the artwork as they often showed scenes of alienation, violence, or despair. The impressionist art style aimed to express the subjective experiences of the artists and was a reaction against the realistic and naturalistic style of art prevalent at the time.

The movement rose to prominence during a time of significant social and political disturbances in Germany. Expressionist artists were worried about the state of the human condition and society. They leaned towards a subjective and experimental approach to creating art.

Some famous expressionist artists are Edvard Munch, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Emil Nolde. The works of these artists were able to effectively communicate and convey a sense of anxiety, inner turmoil, and alienation, along with a special bond to spiritual realism and nature.

Expressionist art had a significant influence on all forms of modern art. You can see the effect of the expressionist movement in a wide variety of artistic movements, from Abstract Expressionism to Neo-Expressionism. Expressionist art style had a focus on emotional expression, subjective experience, and individual creativity. Thus it was able to connect these artworks with not just the artists but also the viewers.

German Expressionism in Art

German Expressionism was an art movement that arose in Germany in the early 20th century and is one of art history's most important movements. It was known for its expressive style, and highly personal subjects created using disturbing, dark, and sometimes even grotesque visuals.

The movement emerged as a response to the bleak state of the world after World War I, and it depicted the social and political disturbances of the time.

German Expressionism is often associated with Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter groups. The movement took inspiration from various sources, including the mysticism of the primitive and middle ages. It was also inspired by Friedrich Nietzche's philosophical ideas, which were incredibly influential and popular at the time.

German Expressionism in Art

Source: DW

Brücke was founded in 1905 in Dresden to become a collective of bohemian expressionist artists who were fighting against the bourgeois social order that existed in Germany at the time. Its members chose the name Brücke to show the desire the artists had to connect the past and present.

The artists tried to break free from the shackles of modern life of the middle class and used intense bold colors and distorted subjects to create a sense of high emotion and tension. It was typical for artworks by German Expressionists to show scenes of social injustices, despair, and violence. The artists did not shy away from themes related to sexuality, the supernatural, and death and were open to depicting them in their works.

German expressionist art rejected the prominent artistic conventions at the time and wished to take a peek into the inner world of an artist. The art style of the movement wanted to show the chaotic and irrational aspects of a human's psyche, as the ideas of Nietzsche and Freud heavily influenced the movement.

Some famous German Expressionist artists were Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, and Max Beckmann. The works of these artists were highly political and mirrored the sense of anxiety and alienation that was present in society after the First World War.

The German Expressionism art style had a tremendous impact on the film media. Filmmakers of the time, such as Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau, were able to create very stylized and emotionally charged works that were heavily inspired and influenced by the themes and aesthetics of German Expressionism. The movement also greatly influenced later artists and art movements, including Abstract Expressionism, Neo-Expressionism, and Pop Art.

Abstract Expressionism

Source: one1more2time3

Even though German Expressionism was only dominant for a brief period in art history, it remains one of the world's most important and influential movements. The themes and techniques used by German Expressionism inspire artists and viewers even today.

Abstract Expressionism in Art

Abstract Expressionism is a modern art movement that became prominent in the United States of America in the mid-1940s. It is known for using non-representational imagery and expressive brush strokes. The art movement put more focus on the beauty of the painting process.

Abstract Expressionism is often associated with the city of New York in the US and the artists working there during the years after the Second World War.

Kettle’s Yard

Source: Kettle’s Yard

Abstract Expressionism rejected traditional representational imagery and used an abstract language of color and form. The artists often used large canvases to create gestural and bold compositions.

They were interested in the workings of the unconscious mind and the power of quick, spontaneous creativity. The artists often improvised their work, allowing their intuitions and emotions to guide the process.

We can divide Abstract Expressionism into two sub-movements - ‘Color Field Painting’ and ‘Action Painting’. Color Field painting is known for being done on large areas of flat monotone color. Artists who follow this style include Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko.

Action Painting is known for its gestural and spontaneous marks, done using large brushes and sometimes even the artist's body. Artists who follow this style include Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock.

Abstract Expression's impact on the art world was tremendous, and we can still see its influence in contemporary art. The ideas of emotion, spontaneity, and the process of Abstract Expressionism have influenced many artists working on even other styles. The movement's focus on experimentation and individual creativity helped create later movements such as Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Pop Art.

Abstract Expressionism had a tremendous impact on not just art and artists but also cultures. The movement was considered a symbol of American individualism and freedom. Abstract Expressionism also helped in cementing New York City as a cultural capital.

A lot of artists who were associated with the Abstract Expressionism movement later were considered to be celebrities in their own way. Their works are still celebrated and exhibited in galleries and museums all around the globe.


Source: StudioBinder

Abstract Expressionism shows a crucial turning point in the history of modern contemporary art. The movement's focus on the spontaneous process, individual creativity, and rejection of traditional imagery revolutionized how artists approached artworks.

The impact the movement had on the art world is prominent even today, and the legacy that Abstract Expressionism left behind shows art's power to challenge the norms and inspire new forms of expression.

Characteristics of Expressionism

Emotional Painting Style

The modern art movement emerged during the early twentieth century in Europe. The art movement was known for its highly emotional and personal style, allowing viewers to peek into the artist's inner vision and subjective experiences. The movement is often related to a feeling of anxiety and alienation which seeks to search for the darker aspects of the human psyche.

Emotional Painting Style

Source: Park West Gallery

Use of Intense Colors

The artworks made with the influence of the Expressionist art movement used intense colors. Expressionist artists used vibrant and bold colors to depict unreal reality. The paintings using this style also often had thick and distorted traces, which means that the lines within the painting would be aggressive and twisted instead of linear.

Rejected Traditional Art Conventions

A key characteristic of Expressionism is how it rejects traditional artistic conventions. The artists of this movement wished to break free from the restraints that the use of realism and naturalism had brought into creating art. They wanted to create artworks that were subjective and heavily stylized. The movement made use of vivid and bold colors and distorted subjects to convey a feeling of psychological tension and heightened emotion.

Subjective and Dramatic

Since expressionist art is often subjective and dramatic, it allowed its creators to portray a different vision of life, which was not often depicted in artworks of the time. The paintings expressed human feelings like misery, jealousy, loneliness, and fear, often showing life's dark and pessimistic side.

Paintings Had a Sense of Urgency

Expressionist art often creates a sense of urgency and intensity. The artists wished to convey a feeling of immediacy as it reflected the emotions and personal experiences of the artists. Expressionist artworks were often able to make their viewers feel uneasiness and horror, and this was usually a reflection of social and political disturbances of the time.

Art in Context

Source: Art in Context

Depicted The Supernatural and Irrational

Another critical characteristic often seen in many expressionists' works is the interest the work has in the supernatural and the irrational. Many expressionist artists were captivated by spirituality and occultism and wished to explore these ideas and themes in their work. The artists often used allegories and symbols to convert mystical experiences and complex philosophical ideas.

Showcase of Human Figures

Expressionist art is known for its focus on the figures of humans. Many expressionist artworks showcased exaggerated and distorted human forms, creating emotional and physical anguish. The artists often used distorted human forms to explore deeper psychological states and political and social issues.

The Expressionist movement remains a massive influence in the world of art. The movement had a significant impact on the development of modern contemporary art. Focusing on the supernatural and irrational helped break the boundaries between spirituality and art. The influence was so tremendous that it still inspires and influences artists.

Expressionism is a significantly distinguishing art movement characterized by its non-acceptance of conventional artistic styles and choices. Another critical characteristic of Expressionism is its depiction of emotions and interest in themes related to the supernatural and irrational.

The movement was significant in the art world as it paved the way for other movements, like Pop Art. It was essential in developing contemporary modern art. You can see the legacy and influence that Expressionism left behind even in the works of today's artists.

Top Five Classic Expressionist Artists

There are many artists and printmakers that were responsible for making the Expressionist movement as popular and relevant as it is now. In this section, we will look into five such artists that made Expressionism what it is now.

Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch is a name that we cannot miss out on when discussing Expressionism. His 1893 artwork, The Scream, is one of the paintings that marked the beginning of the movement. It later became one of the iconic movements of all time when evaluating visual art history.

Edvard Munch

Source: Biography (Bio.)

This Norwegian artist was first part of the Symbolist movement and later became the pioneer of Expressionism. The main inspiration of these artists to experiment with such an art movement were the impressionists and post-impressionists, including Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh.

Munch's childhood was filled with traumatic experiences, which got reflected in all of his paintings. His mother and sister died when he was young, and his father suffered from mental illness. All such tragic experiences influenced him to explore themes like anxiety, death, and psychological trauma through his artworks.

The Dance of Life

The Dance of Life
Source: Arthive

Edvard Munch was capable of producing several masterpieces throughout his art career that lasted for over 60 years. Other than The Scream, his other notable works include Madonna, Vampire, and The Dance of Life.

Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky, Wassily Wassilyevich, simply known as Wassily Kandinsky, is another iconic name one must not miss out on when discussing Expressionism. It is not wrong to say that this Russian painter and art theorist is the pioneer of abstract art.

Kandinsky strongly believed art could evoke emotions and ideas beyond its usual symbolic or representational content.

Wassily Kandinsky

Source: Art History School

In 1911, Kandinsky founded the Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) group of artists, which included classic artists like Franz Marc, August Macke, and Paul Klee. The group's main aim was to promote modern art and to express the spiritual values of their time.

We can characterize Kandinsky's work from this period by his use of bold colors and abstract shapes. Even though he was born in Moscow, the artist spent most of his career years in Germany. During World War I, Kandinsky returned to Russia to participate in the Russian Revolution.

He taught at the Moscow Academy of Fine Arts and was a great help in establishing the Museum of Pictorial Culture in Moscow. He returned to Germany in 1921 and taught at the Bauhaus School of Art and Design until 1933, the year the school got closed by the Nazis. This made him relocate to France, and he lived there until he died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, in 1944.

On analyzing Kandinsky's later works, you can see that they show a greater emphasis on geometric forms and a more muted color palette.

The Blue Rider

Source: Wikipedia

Some of Wassily Kandinsky's famous artworks include The Blue Rider, Circles in a Circle, Upward, etc. Today, his works are widely recognized and celebrated for playing a massive role in the development of abstract art.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Another name that cannot go without being mentioned when discussing the list of top five expressionist artists is Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

Kirchner was born in Aschaffenburg, Germany, and studied architecture before turning his career toward his passion, painting. He created some artworks that are now masterpieces throughout his art career.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Source: Wikipedia

This German painter and printmaker is one of the founding fathers of a key group of artists named Die Brücke (The Bridge) expressionist movement. This art group played a significant role in popularizing Expressionism as an art movement, thus contributing to the appeal this style has even now.

The art style of Kirchner got characterized by the use of bold colors and distorted forms to give his paintings a vigorous emotional intensity. He often painted urban scenes and figures, particularly nudes and dancers, to emphasize the inner turmoil and psychological states that he and his subjects were in.

He was known for his use of vivid block colors, sharp, angular forms, and contrasting brushstrokes. Like Edvard Munch, Kirchner was also inspired by Impressionists.

During World War I, Kirchner suffered a nervous breakdown while he served as a soldier with the German Army. This resulted in the artists getting expelled from military service. He then moved to Switzerland and continued to paint, and during this phase, his work became more reflective and less focused on the external world.

The artist struggled with depression and addiction and even attempted suicide in 1918. According to official reports, he took his own life by gunshot at 58. But art historians and gun experts argue that it was most likely a murder by analyzing his gunshot wounds.

The Nazi regime deemed Kirchner's work to be "degenerate." They confiscated and destroyed most of them. They even forced him to resign from the Berlin Academy of Arts in the year 1937, and he took his own life the following year.


Female Artist
Source: Wikiart

Despite his tragic end, Kirchner's works are now highly influential and have wide recognition for being an essential contribution to the development of Expressionism and modern art.

Some of the most famous artworks by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner include Street, Berlin, Berlin Street Scene, Female Artist, etc.

Franz Marc

Franz Marc, born in 1880, was a German printmaker and painter. He was a prominent figure, especially among German artists, who played a crucial role in developing Expressionism. Marc was known for his use of bold shapes and vibrant colors in his artworks and for having a solid bond with spirituality and nature.

Leicester's German Expressionist

Source: Leicester's German Expressionist Collection

Franz Marc was born in Munich in 1880, and he studied art, under the counsel of Gabriel von Hackl, an influential painter, at the Munich Academy. However, he later became disenchanted and discouraged with the style of the academy and wanted to take a more avant-garde approach to art.

In 1911, Marc and the painter Wassily Kandinsky founded the "Der Blaue Reiter," which translates to The Blue Rider. They created the group to promote art's abstract style and spirituality in painting. Many notable artists of the time were part of this group.

The Symbolist movement heavily influenced the early works of Marc. In his earlier works, he tried to express the indescribable through images that could induce ideas and emotions.

However, this lasted only briefly, as he soon found a unique style combining vivid colors and abstract shapes. His affinity toward animals and nature is often inspired using these vivid colors and shapes.

Marc always tried to broaden his horizons by experimenting with new techniques and approaches to art throughout his career. He was interested in the relationship between emotions and colors, and we will often see bold and contrasting hues to create different feelings and moods in his works.

He also experimented with lithographs and woodcuts, producing a series of prints acclaimed for their expressive power and technical skill. However, his career was cut short by the First World War. He got enlisted in the German army in 1914. Unfortunately, he was killed in the war two years later at the age of 36.

Even though his life was short, he left behind a legacy that would last forever in the world of art. His works remain an inspiration and influence to the artists even today. His contributions to the development of Expressionism are considered to be some of the biggest and most important in the history of modern contemporary art.

Franz Marc was among the pioneers of Expressionism whose work helped shape the course of art in the 20th century. His use of abstract shapes, spiritual themes, and bold colors made him one of the most visionary painters ever. Even though his life was short-lived, the legacy he left behind and his work continues to inspire and influence artists worldwide.

Horse in Landscape

Horse in Landscape
Source: Wikiart

"The Large Blue Horses," which was painted in 1911, is one of his most famous works. In this artwork, a herd of wild horses can be seen in bright blue hues. The painting is an incredible piece of artwork of abstract expressionism. It was able to capture the beauty and majesty of these glorious creatures in a way that was more than just a mere representation.

Some of his other famous masterpieces include Hut in Dachau Moors, Indersdorf, Two Women on the Hillside, Horse in Landscape, etc.

Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele, the Austrian painter, is among the most significant early twentieth-century artists who gained fame as a key Expressionist. He was born in Tulln, Austria, in 1890 and died at the age of 28 in 1918, living a short but intense life. Schiele's art is often characterized by its expressive and unsettling style.

Egon Schiele

Source: Wikiart

Egon Schiele was a prominent figure in the Austrian Expressionist movement, well-known for his figurative work. Some of the major themes he dealt with in his artworks included sexuality, death, and the human condition. His paintings depicted distorted nude or semi-nude models in elongated poses.

Another defining feature of Schiele's work was his use of lines. He often used thick, black lines to outline his figures to emphasize the distorted proportions and shapes of his subjects. He also used bold and often clashing hues to color his paintings, which helped create a sense of tension and unease.

Despite the controversial subject matters, themes, and artistic styles Schiele used for his pieces, he was still a highly respected artist of his time. He was a member of a group of artists who sought to break away from traditional artistic conventions called the Vienna Secession. Their works got exhibited throughout Europe.

Today, Egon Schiele is considered an artist who had a significant influence on the development of modern art. He continues to be celebrated by artists and art enthusiasts for his innovative and provocative approach to his paintings.

The Blind Mother

The Blind Mother
Source: Wikiart

Some iconic paintings by the artist that played a massive role in marking Expressionis's position among the different painting styles include Self-Portrait with Chinese Lantern Plant, The Blind Mother, Death and the Maiden, Embrace, Reclining Woman in Green Stockings, etc.

Top 5 Iconic Artworks of Expressionism

This section will walk you through the five best Expressionists by each of the five classic expressionists mentioned above. These paintings had a significant role to play in the growth and popularity of Expressionism around the world.

The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch

When discussing the most influential and famous artworks of Expressionism, the first on the list is the iconic painting, The Scream by Edvard Munch. As discussed already, Edward Munch is one of the most influential artists among the many classic expressionists. This work of his, in today’s world, is regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.

Edvard Munch is often celebrated for his innovative use of color and form to explore themes of emotional intensity. The Scream is not any different and is a classic example of how strong his works are.


Source: Artsy

In the painting, we see a figure surrounded by a landscape that looks surreal and ominous; a blood-red sky covered with swirling clouds surrounds the person. The haunting figure in the painting is now an iconic symbol of angst and despair.

Art enthusiasts and historians widely interpret the painting as an expression of the artist's own psychological distress making it autobiographical. Munch suffered from anxiety and depression throughout his life, and he often reflected that in many of his paintings.

Munch created several original versions of The Scream in different mediums, including pastel, lithography, and woodcut. One of the pastel versions of this painting sold at an auction for a record-breaking $119.9 million in 2012. Thus it became one of the most expensive works of art ever sold.


Source: Smarthistory

Two main versions of the painting now hang at two different locations, one at the Munch Museum and the other at the Oslo National Gallery, both located in Oslo.

The Blue Rider (1903) by Wassily Kandinsky

The Blue Rider is one of the most important and influential works by Wassily Kandinsky. The painting, completed in 1903, plays a vital part in the Expressionist movement in art. Using paintings like this and his few others, Kandinsky created a bridge of difference between Post-impressionism and Expressionism.

The painting portrays a man on horseback who is surrounded by a landscape of hills, trees, and a small village. The colors used in the picture are mainly blue and green, with touches of yellow and red.

The Blue Rider

Source: Wikipedia

The Blue Rider is notable, especially among art enthusiasts, for its use of bold, abstract shapes and colors that conveys the emotion and mood of the painting very well. Kandinsky created the image at a time when he was exploring different new ways in which he could express himself through art.

It is a fine example of how the artist shifted from being an impressionist painter to an expressionist. The painting sure has several characteristics of an impressionist painting. Still, its features like rough brushstrokes, heavy impasto, and bold coloration all indicate how it is an expressionist piece of art.

The Blue Rider, as mentioned above, was also the name of a group of artists that the artist founded in 1911. The group consisted of those artists who shared Kandinsky's interest in exploring new forms of art and expression. The group held several exhibitions together and also published a journal called ‘Der Blaue Reiter.’

The Blue Rider is, thus, an essential work of art that represents a pivotal moment in the history of modern art. The bold use of color and form in this painting has inspired generations of artists, and it still continues to captivate viewers.

Street, Berlin (1913) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, as mentioned above, is one of the important artists that played an essential role in the growth not just of German Expressionism but Expressionism as a whole.

Street, Berlin

Source: The Collector

Street, Berlin is a painting that depicts a crowd of people going about their daily activities in a bustling street in Berlin. You can see that the figures in the painting are portrayed in a stylized, angular manner which is a characteristic of the expressionist style of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

When you look at the painting, you can see that it features a variety of colors with bold and bright hues of yellow, orange, and green that dominate the composition.

Art Historians believe that Kirchner used such bright and bold colors to convey the energy and excitement of the urban environment. But along with depicting the busy urban life filled with excitement, he also tried highlighting the isolation and disconnection individuals feel in such a setting through his painting.

Die Brücke (The Bridge), which Kirchner and his group of colleagues founded in 1905, mainly focused on rejecting traditional academic styles. They tried to create expressive and emotional art and encouraged other artists to do so. Street, Berlin is a prime example of this expressionist style, with its many characteristics like bold colors, expressive brushstrokes, and exaggerated forms.

Leicester's German Expressionist

Source: Leicester's German Expressionist Collection

The painting now hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and is still honored and celebrated as a masterpiece work of German expressionism.

The Large Blue Horses (1911) by Franz Marc

The Large Blue Horses is one of the most famous masterpieces by the German Expressionist artist Franz Marc. As mentioned above in the section that talks about the artist, he was one of the founding fathers of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group along with Kandinsky.

The painting, which got completed in 1911, depicts four blue horses standing or grazing in a meadow, and they are surrounded by a landscape of hills and trees.

The Large Blue Horses

Source: Wikipedia

One of the most unique characteristics of the painting is its notable use of blue. Blue is not a color that horses generally have. However, Marc was a believer in how colors have symbolic meaning. He believed that blue stood for spirituality and the divine.

The artist was popular for using animals in his art to represent emotions and ideas, and art historians believe that horses in this painting represent strength, freedom, and vitality. The horses, along with their blue color, have a soft curvature form that may have stood for balance, peace, and harmony.

The landscape behind them has bold colors and simplified forms. The blue horses stand against hills with a bold red color. The artist himself explained that such a contrast depicts the connection that spirituality and violence share between each other. The use of all these bold colors adds to the dreamlike quality of the painting.

We can notice how the horses are lined diagonally in the painting, making our eyes run across the canvas, which is a key factor that makes this painting dynamic.

Death and the Maiden (1915) by Egon Schiele

Death and the Maiden is a painting by the Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele in the year 1915. As its name suggests, the painting portrays a skeletal figure that represents death, embracing a naked young woman.

The woman has an expression of fear and submission on her face and whole body language. The skeletal figure appears to be taking advantage of her vulnerability and taking pleasure in it. Death and the Maiden

Source: Wikipedia

Art historians firmly believe that, through this artwork, Schiele was trying to communicate the fear that man possesses of death and, thus, the vulnerable nature of human life.

He drew this painting at a time when the theme was the most relevant. It was a time when his country, Austria, was experiencing high levels of mortality due to World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic.

Art enthusiasts also believe that Egon Schiele drew the painting after getting inspired by a poem of the same name by the Austrian poet Matthias Claudius.

The painting got interpreted in various ways through the years. Some critics see the painting as a reflection of the artist's own fear of death. Some others, however, argue that it is a commentary on the power dynamics between men and women.

Despite its controversial subject matter, Death and the Maiden is now one of Schiele's most famous works and is regarded as a masterpiece of the Expressionist movement.


Expressionism was a revolutionary movement that still has a strong impact on the world of art and the works of artists. The movement was capable of giving newer artists the confidence to experiment with their work and express themselves through their paintings.

This article discussed everything, like the key facts that you must know about Expressionism and also the famous artists and their artworks. Hopefully, that was everything that you were looking for about the art movement that plays a huge role in visual art history.

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