The Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main
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Beckmann was a key player in the “New Objectivity” movement in German art in the 1920s, which rejected Expressionism as too sentimental and abstract. Although Beckmann has abandoned realistic perspective in this townscape, the scene is believable and all of its features recognisable. The eponymous synagogue is seen to the left of the painting, and next to it a small-town square. Roads lead through the blocks of buildings and a group of figures pass by into the distance. A lone figure leans against railings to the right, and a strange, large cat sits at the bottom boundary of the painting. An advertising pillar is seen to the right of the centre which has been popular in Germany since the 19th Century. The work is colourful but not to the exaggerated levels of Expressionism which believed that such colours could be used to demonstrate emotions. Although not Jewish himself, Beckmann’s work was dismissed as degenerate by the Nazi regime, deeming him a “cultural Bolshevik”.