Emil Nolde , German , 1867-1956 Masks, 1911 Oil on canvas Unframed: 28 3/4 x 30 1/2 inches / Framed: 39 1/2 x 37 3/16 x 2 3/4 inches
ARTIST HISTORY Emil Nolde was a German painter and printmaker, who was one of the first Expressionists, a member of Die Brücke, and is considered to be one of the great watercolor painters of the 20th century. He is known for his vigorous brushwork and expressive choice of colors. Golden yellows and deep reds appear frequently in his work, giving a luminous quality to otherwise somber tones. His watercolors include vivid, brooding stormscapes and brilliant florals. http://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/nolde.php
Born in small village whose name he took as his own in 1902, Emil Hansen came from a family of peasants. This simple and rural origin at the extreme north of Germany close to the Danish border, is doubtless crucial to understanding the artist’s personality. The connection between Nolde and the land, his rooting in a form of popular culture that was half pagan half protestant, imbued with old Germanic legends does not form a contradiction and more than any other formal or theoretical type of claim, the painter never ceases to refer to his origins and to Germany. http://www.thearttribune.com/Emil-Nolde-1867-1956.html
The Expressionist movement started in Germany. These artists wanted to paint about emotion. It could be anger, anxiety, fear, or peacefulness. This wasn't a completely new idea in art. Other artists like Vincent van Gogh had been doing the same thing. However, this was the first time this type of art had been given a name.
When was the Expressionism movement?
The Expressionist movement occurred during the early part of the 1900s.
What are the characteristics of Expressionism?
Expressionist art tried to convey emotion and meaning rather than reality. Each artist had their own unique way of "expressing" their emotions in their art. In order to express emotion, the subjects are often distorted or exaggerated. At the same time colors are often vivid and shocking
a. The painting has very little mixing and blending. It looks as if it was just smeared on the canvas and left alone. There may appear to be some places where the paint looks blended but that is probably only because the author used water colors.
b. The brush lines are very visable meaning the author was not intending to make the painting look real, but was instead expressing emotion.
c. The heads look like they belong to scary multicolored beasts and animals and they do not resemble reality whatsoever.
d. There are random splashes and streaks of yellow paint throughout the painting; as long as it somewhat resembled what the artist pictured then everything else didn't matter.
e. There is a hole in the yellow faces head, again showing that he only wanted to resemble his idea, not perfect it.
f. The heads are floating and do not have bodies; again the artist was not attempting to paint reality.
2) Lines- The artist uses a bunch of vertical lines which intensifies the painting. The artist tends to use fairly straight lines, curving them when creating the shape of the faces and the face's features. In this painting, there are mostly implied lines and very few actual lines. It is difficult to identify any implied lines because all of the eyes of the faces are looking different ways and just the faces in general are all pointing in different directions.
Color- The artist uses a lot of blues, yellows, and reds, which are all of the primary colors, along with some secondary colors like orange and green. He also throws in some black and white. The shades of these colors he uses clash which gives the painting a hectic and pessimistic feeling. The artist tends to use warmer colors to emphasize the more important things in the painting, like the faces, and cooler colors for less important things, like the background. One of the faces he paints is rather dull but he paints a white beard on it which allows it to stand out just as much, if not more, than the other faces.
Shapes- All of the heads in this painting are essentially oval-shaped even if they do appear a little deformed. Most, if not all, of the features on the faces have distinct shape. The shapes might not be perfect but this is intentional; the artist wanted to give the faces character so they wouldn't appear as boring.
Space- There is little depth to this painting. The viewer would not be able to "enter" this painting. There are, however, a few instances of overlapping but the painting still tends looks one-dimensional. The author did this because he was simply expressing himself and had no intentions of the painting looking real.
Lighting- I don't think that there is a logical light source for this scene. It doesn't seem to come from one specific place, although the faces do seem brighter than the background which is probably due to the use of colors in the masks. The lack of lighting really adds to this painting because it creates an eerie and cynical mood.
Composition- This painting is pretty unbalanced. The faces are just randomly placed on the painting. I think in order for the painting to look "right" it has to appear as "wrong." This is because the painting is not supposed to be perfect. It was painted a little odd so that it would give the viewers a cynical feeling. The colors and lines are not consistent either which also contributes to the mood that the composition creates.
In my opinion, the mood of this painting is cynical.
The author portrayed this mood by using various techniques. For one, he used clashing colors which sends a negative vibe right through the viewer and makes them almost feel the need to clench their teeth. Secondly, the faces he uses are not familiar. They do not look like any creature we have on earth and they all have terrifying looks upon their faces. Lastly, horizontal lines usually make paintings appear calm and peaceful, but this painting has very few of these. Instead, there are many vertical lines in this painting which makes the painting appear very fierce.