Expressionism was a cultural movement originating in Germany at the start of the 20th-century as a reaction to positivism and other artistic movements such as naturalism and impressionism. It sought to express the meaning of "being alive" and emotional experience rather than physical reality. It is the tendency of an artist to distort reality for an emotional effect; it is a subjective art form.
Expressionism is exhibited in many art forms, including: painting, literature, theatre, film, architecture and music. The term often implies emotional angst. In a general sense, painters such as Matthias Grünewald and El Greco can be called expressionist, though in practice, the term is applied mainly to 20th century works.