(usually lowercase) a manner of painting, drawing, sculpting, etc., in which forms derived from nature are distorted or exaggerated and colors are intensified for emotive or expressive purposes.
a style of art developed in the 20th century, characterized chiefly by heavy, often black lines that define forms, sharply contrasting, often vivid colors, and subjective or symbolic treatment of thematic material.
German Ex·pres·si·o·nis·mus [eks-pres-ee-oh-nis-moos]. /ɛksˌprɛs i oʊˈnɪs mʊs/. modern art, especially the experimental or nonacademic styles of contemporary art.
(often lowercase)Theater. a style of playwriting and stage presentation stressing the emotional content of a play, the subjective reactions of the characters, symbolic or abstract representations of reality, and nonnaturalistic techniques of scenic design.
Literature. a technique of distorting objects and events in order to represent them as they are perceived by a character in a literary work.
(usually lowercase) a phase in the development of early 20th-century music marked by the use of atonality and complex, unconventional rhythm, melody, and form, intended to express the composer's psychological and emotional life.
- Ex·pres·sion·ist, noun, adjective
- Ex·pres·sion·is·tic [ik-spresh-uh-nis-tik], /ɪkˌsprɛʃ əˈnɪs tɪk/, adjective
- Ex·pres·sion·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb
- an·ti·ex·pres·sion·ism, noun
- an·ti·ex·pres·sion·ist, noun, adjective
- an·ti·ex·pres·sion·is·tic, adjective
- non·ex·pres·sion·is·tic, adjective
- pro·ex·pres·sion·ism, noun
- pro·ex·pres·sion·ist, noun, adjective
- pro·ex·pres·sion·is·tic, adjective
- sem·i·ex·pres·sion·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use Expressionism in a sentence
An artistic style that has been compared to Cubist Expressionism was also discovered across the site.
Di Bello described the color-splashed works as “abstract Expressionism” with “surrealist” methods.
It was his mix of Expressionism and surrealism, however, that allowed Freud a legacy of admiration rather than notoriety.A New Book Gives A Rare Glimpse Into The Life of Lucian Freud | Erin Cunningham | October 22, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
The committee later relented, declaring it a work of Expressionism.
At the most fundamental level, Abstract Expressionism evokes existential angst for instance, and Pop Art satirizes consumerism.
British Dictionary definitions for expressionism
(sometimes capital) an artistic and literary movement originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, which sought to express emotions rather than to represent external reality: characterized by the use of symbolism and of exaggeration and distortion
- expressionist, noun, adjective
- expressionistic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cultural definitions for expressionism
An artistic style that departs from the conventions of realism (see also realism) and naturalism (see also naturalism) and seeks to convey inner experience by distorting rather than directly representing natural images. The highly personal visions communicated in the paintings of Vincent van Gogh are early examples of expressionism. Edvard Munch and Georges Rouault are considered expressionist painters.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.