German Expressionism: Jakob Steinhardt (1923)

The woodcut reflects post World War One "expressionism." Strong feelings are expressed in nonrealistic distorted facial expressions. Born in Poland and living through the horrors of war and the breakdown of traditional society, Steinhardt transforms the Prussian soldier with his pointed helmet and sword, the hero of his new land into the wicked type whose face is graced with a bizarre smile. The wise type is smaller than the soldier, yet holding his book and pointing heavenward, he tries to reason with the soldier. The simple type wears a dunce hat and a ridiculous facial expression. The wise man points aloft to God, while the wicked soldier points at the simple one, reflecting a derisive attitude.

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