Candle Dancers (1912) by Emil Nolde

Candle Dancers - Emil Nolde - 1912

Artwork Information

TitleCandle Dancers
ArtistEmil Nolde
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions100.5 x 86.5 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationNolde-Stiftung Seebull

About Candle Dancers

The artwork titled “Candle Dancers” is an oil on canvas painting by the artist Emil Nolde, created in 1912. This piece is an exemplar of the Expressionist movement, distinguished by its vivid use of color and emotional expression over realistic depiction. It measures 100.5 by 86.5 cm and is characterized as symbolic painting. The artwork can be found in the collection of Nolde-Stiftung Seebull.

The painting itself is an intense display of color and movement, capturing the dynamic actions of figures that appear to be in a state of dance or motion. The background is ablaze with warm, fiery hues of orange and red, suggesting a fervent, almost otherworldly atmosphere. This intense backdrop contrasts with the lighter, fluid forms of the dancers, whose bodies are rendered in a less literal, more distorted fashion that is typical of the Expressionist style. The figures are elongated and their contours are exaggerated, evoking a sense of rhythm and energy. At the feet of the dancers, a series of yellow shapes suggest candles, which may contribute to the painting’s title and underscore the symbolic or ritualistic character of the scene. The liberal, emotive application of paint highlights Nolde’s interest in the psychological over the physical reality, seeking to capture an inner experience rather than an external observation.

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