Craig White's Literature Courses

Terms / Themes


(compare/contrast Impressionism)

Oxford English Dictionary: The methods, style, or attitude of expressionists; spec. a style of painting in which the artist seeks to express emotional experience rather than impressions of the physical world; hence, a similar style or movement in literature, drama, music, etc.

In a broad sense, any art that emphasizes the artist's feelings or state of mind more than his objective observations. Expressionist works often show exaggerations such as distorted shapes and unnatural colors. 

A style of filmmaking that distorts physical reality in some way in order to "express" strong feelings about it. Typical expressionistic techniques include the use of distorting lenses, extreme camera angles, bizarre lighting and sound effects, and fragmented editing. . . . 

Edvard Munch, The Scream 1893

Van Gogh, The Starry Night

Van Gogh, The Night Cafe

Oedipus's cursing of Polyneices

in Oedipus at Colonus, sc. 9, l. 1512 ff.

Oedipus (with Ismene and Antigone)
condemns Polyneices
by Andre-Marcel Baschet, 1883

Impressionistic painting
Oedipus Cursing his Son, Polyneices
By Henry Fuseli, 1741-1825

Expressionist painting


illustration for farmhouse set in Desire Under the Elms


film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1921

Nosferatu 1922