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.
illustration for farmhouse set in Desire Under the Elms
film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1921