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The Expressionist Movement

Powerful Essays
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 f...

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... the viewer and the artist. Munch’s “The Scream,” portrays a figure so lost in life that he feels the haunting scream of nature building within him. While this may seem like such a personal moment that it is nearly provocative, the painting captures the essence of the absoluteness that is the human condition. Fritz Lang similarly portrays expressive feeling in his film, “Metropolis” through the composition of cinematography, stylistic choices of design and character development. In an exaggerated form, the film scrutinizes a powerful dystopian society and discovers the true essence of being human. No matter the medium, viewers are strongly taken aback by how personal and emotional the pieces are. Both Fritz Lang’s film, “Metropolis,” and Munich’s painting, “The Scream,” the Expressionist movement is effectively reflected due to the intense focus on personal emotion.