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      • Max Beckmann has an innate preference for large proportions. He started out as a realist, but his experience during World War I estranged him from Neo-Impressionism. He adopted certain cubistic elements which he -re-discovered in late German Gothic art. At first he crowded as many figures into his canvas as one finds in old altar-pieces, and interlaced and knotted their thin and long limbs. He destroyed conventional perspective and deprived his objects of their wonted appearance.

        Around 1918 his figures became rounder, and their gestures and arrangement simpler and clearer. His encounter with the art of Matisse during a visit to Paris in 1928 revealed to Beckmann the symbolic value of color and contour. Beckmann translated the French means of expression into German, however, and fashioned his own idiom out of them.

        He is the only modern painter with a predilection for the monumental size and mythological content which fuse classical with modern elements. The large triptychs he invented for his new mythology have retained something of the sacred dignity of their Gothic models.

      • Source: European paintings in German art galleries

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