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Expressionism in the 80s-90s: Five Vintage Artworks that Evoke Emotion

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

I highly doubt there are any art pieces that were not birthed from emotions, as artists are passionate. Studying their works, you can see how intensely they felt angry, sad, or inspirational. From the brush strokes to color choice, you can tell with practiced eyes what emotion they created an art piece with.

But there are unique kinds of art pieces created to evoke emotion and ensure you do not miss it. This expressionism art started in the 20th century.

Unlike impressionism, expressionism puts personal and emotional at the forefront of art. Expressionist art speak emotions more than any other art; they specifically depict emotion and increase their dynamic interpretation of the truth of the more realistic and practical subject.

Let's go on a journey exploring 5 of the best of these kinds of art.

1. The Scream 1893


Created by Edvard Munch, this is one of the most iconic art pieces in the world. Made with oil, tempera, and pastel on cardboard, this piece embodies the profound anxiety that permitted the early modernist era. The painting is based on Munch's experience of hearing a piercing scream after being left behind by two of his friends. He explains hearing a scream that his friends were oblivious about, and they continued their walk while he was bent over behind, alone.

This painting symbolizes the anxiety of the human condition. This piece has inspired other artists to create their own, like the mask from the scream and the silence.

2. Dance around the golden calf - 1910


This art piece depicts a chapter from the book of exodus; according to the story in this old testament book, they made the calf to pacify people when they feared Moses would not return from his journey to mount Sinai. Made with oil and canvas, this piece emphasizes the sensitive emotion of these people with bright colors and rough brush strokes. It depicts primitive people performing a concentrated dance around an idol, utterly unaware of its falseness.

This is one of Emil Nodel's religious paintings.

3. Reclining nude - 1919


This piece was created by Amedeo Modigliani and is part of a series Amedeo began creating in 1916. The emotions of this piece are desire and erotism. The soft skin color of the subject stands out against the darker interior background of the portrait, indicating a state of intimacy between the subject and the artist. The subject casually lays back as if relaxed in the painter's presence. Her gaze is one of subtle invitation to admire her body.

This oil on canvas art piece was inspired by the depiction of venus in ancient Greco-roman art.

4 The bride of the wind - 1914


Made by Oscar Kokoschka, he used himself as a muse, and the portrait depicts him embracing the love of his life, Almar Mahar. They are wrapped in what appears to be a stormy ocean. The intense feeling he has towards the woman is evident in the image, and their relationship dynamic is evident in the troubled atmosphere. This oil on canvas painting is dominated by cold colors and allows the viewer to see the picture fully. Oscar effectively captures the tumultuous energy of a great and what would turn out to be a tragic love story.

Although autobiographical, the theme for this piece was also influenced by the recent shipwreck events in their time, quite similar to the heroes of the Titanic.

5. The survivors - 1923

The-survivors-1923- Kathe-Kollwitz

This piece made by Kathe Kollwitz is evidence of the horrors of world war I and the social unrest the people in Berlin felt when that century started in Europe.

The figures in this portrait depict the pain and oppression the people felt across the continent. The motherly figure with sunken cheekbones, draped in a black cloak in the center of the image, has her hands wrapped around small children with saddened faces. Her figure represents resilience and protection.



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