Meaning of Expressionism


Pronunciation: (ik-spresh'u-niz"um), [key]
— n.
    1. (usually l.c.) 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.
    2. 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.
    3. German, Ex&syl;pres&syl;si&syl;o&syl;nis&syl;mus(eks&sylp;pres&sec;ē&sylp;ō&sylp;nis&prim;m&oobreve;s).modern art, esp. the experimental or nonacademic styles of contemporary art.
  1. (often l.c.)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.
  2. a technique of distorting objects and events in order to represent them as they are perceived by a character in a literary work.
  3. (usu. l.c.) 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.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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