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I’ve picked one painting from each of the two main German schools of expressionism, Die Brucke and Der Blaue Reiter.
The first is from Die Brucke and is by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, it’s his Badende Moritzburg (Bathers at Moritzburg), painted between & .
It reflects the new naturist ideas that were popular in Germany, and much of Europe, at the time – this was an idealisation of nature, and was a response to the industrial, mechanised world – As Kirchner continued to paint the work during and after WWI, then it is also a response to the mechanised slaughter of that war.
The second is Die grossen blauen Pferde (The Large Blue Horses) by Franz Marc. Der Blaue Reiter were more interested in folk art and German woodcut traditions than Die Brucke.
The painting symbolises a similar idealisation of nature, but a more primitive, human nature than the works by Der Blaue Reiter,. The work draws on Fauvist ideas about the psychological affect of colour and form, making the horses almost as spiritual, not material, beings – a part of the human collective unconscious.
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