Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Title: Mockery
Artist: Emil Nolde
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 86 x 106 cm
Date: 1909
Location: Brucke Museum, Berlin.

John 19:2-3 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Noldes's figures are large scale, crammed together in a constricting space. The result is crowded and claustrophobic. Nolde focuses our attention on the intense emotions of the event. Furthermore, the harsh drawing, agitated brushwork, and distortion of the figures enforce this feeling.

Emil Nolde (August 1867 – April 1956) was a German painter and printmaker. He was one of the first Expressionists and a member of Die Brücke, an influential group of German expressionist artists formed in Dresden in 1905. But for Nolde, the Third Reich brought defamation. His paintings were confiscated from the museums and his work was a special focus of the exhibition "Entartete Kunst" ("Degenerate Art"). From 1941 on he was prohibited from painting at all. Secretly he paint small scale watercolors which he called "unpainted pictures". After the war, between his eightieth and eighty-fifth birthday he gained various honors and awards. He is now considered to be one of the great painters of the 20th century, known for his vigorous brushwork and expressive choice of colors.

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