Die Brücke & Ernst Kirchner

The Junkerboden Under Snow

View of Basel and the Rhine



Die Brücke is a German artistic movement started in Dresden focusing on German Expressionism.

There are two kinds of art: haptic and visual. I’m about to give a little taste of Art History 101, so be prepared! (Geeking out right now).  Haptic art is more…emotional. Think Edvard Munch. All his vampyre women and the bleak colors. To give you an example of visual art, think Italian artists, like Michelangelo. Although Munch and Michelangelo are centuries apart, their art is just as far apart in that Michelangelo is visual: there isn’t the same emotion, but more exactitude, whereas Munch exudes emotion in his Northern way.

The haptic/visual argument comes from a geographical theory that I find really interesting. In the northern parts of Europe like Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, etc., they are often indoors and cooped up with their emotions more. In the south, the weather allows for the people to get a different kind of emotion with their work. Think of Van Gogh, too! Van Gogh was a Northerner trying to paint like a Southerner in the Impressionist style, but because he was naturally a haptic artist, he couldn’t convert to becoming a visual Impressionist. Those thick smears of paint we delight over are the result of a man torn.

Now, back to the artist I’m focusing on: Ernst Kirchner, a German Expressionist who founded the Die Brücke movement. In his works, there is an underlying agitation, and underlying theme of almost a simmering feeling. The Die Brücke movement could be compared to the Fauvist movement in France- Fauve means “beast”, whereas Die Brücke translates to “the bridge”.

What I love about Kirchner’s works is that they are so primitive, and they do use a color palette that is not geared towards naturalism, and that there is so much underlying emotion in his works that oozes out from underneath the paint, almost permeating the space around the works.

So, there’s your geeking out for tonight. Seriously, go check out German Expressionism and it’s other artists, it’s really a beautiful thing!

All images via Wikimedia. 


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