Beginnning (1949) by Max Beckmann

Beginnning - Max Beckmann - 1949

Artwork Information

ArtistMax Beckmann
Art MovementExpressionism

About Beginnning

The artwork titled “Beginning” was created by the artist Max Beckmann in 1949, situated in the context of the Expressionist movement. As a genre painting, “Beginning” embodies the expressive and emotional resonance characteristic of Expressionism, a movement that typically foregrounds the artist’s subjective perspective and emotional response to reality over a realistic depiction of the world.

The artwork presents a complex, multi-paneled composition that is deeply saturated with rich colors and characterized by bold, heavy outlines. It consists of three main panels, each bustling with an array of figures and objects that appear to hold significant symbolic meaning. The left panel shows several figures amidst various objects, including what appears to be weapons and musical instruments, suggesting a scene that combines elements of both conflict and culture. The central panel anchors the triptych with a white horse, ridden by a figure carrying a shield, and surrounded by other enigmatic characters and symbols, possibly alluding to themes of triumph, struggle, or a journey. The right panel completes the composition with a grouping of characters holding different objects such as a globe, hinting at a worldview or philosophical contemplation. The disjointed spatial orientation and the frequent use of sharp angles create an atmosphere of intensity and dynamism throughout the piece.

The exaggerated figures, with their distorted proportions and expressive faces, convey a sense of internal drama and emotional tension. Beckmann’s use of color, line, and form underscores the psychological undercurrents of the work, inviting viewers to contemplate the complexities of human experience that the artwork might reflect. Overall, “Beginning” encapsulates the turmoil, introspection, and existential queries that are indicative of Beckmann’s oeuvre and the broader Expressionist movement.

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