Expressionism and Formalism: a Shallow Analysis

Stanley Whitney, “James Brown Sacrifice to Apollo” (2008)

Artists did not cease searching for the definition of aesthetics after the birth of representation theory.

The expressionism and formalism are two dominant genres during the last hundred years. (Martin, 1956) The former focuses on the subjective experience rather than objective reality. The artists usually achieve this goal by exaggerating and distorting the items. (The editor of Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019) The latter emphasizes the forms and styles of artworks, including the arrangement of color, lines, shapes, and even sounds. The historical context of artwork may also be taken into account but is less important than the form itself. (Wikipedia) Tolstoy is a representative of the expressionism. Clive Bell defended the formalism. Collingwood defined the boundary of art and craft, and Freud’s “Day-dreaming” further compacted the theory of art. In this paper, the opinions of Tolstoy, Bell, Collingwood, and Freud would be explored.

Check Out Leo Tolstoy’s Strict ‘Rules of Life’ for Love and Work, retrieved from
Clive Bell, retrieved from
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Collingwood, retrieved from
Craft, Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash
Sigmund Freud, retrieved from
Salvador Dali and Surrealism, retrieved from
Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange at The Studio Museum in Harlem, July 16 — October 25, 2015, retrieved from
Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

From Imitation Theory to Representation Theory

Undergraduate student / Research assistant/ Always curious / Opinions are mine