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Kandinsky was a Russian painter,printmaker, and art theorist. One of the most famous 20th-century artists, he is credited with
painting the first modern abstracts. He influences even today the creation of Contemporary
Abstract Expressionism which is inspired by Kandinsky's work.
Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa.
As a young man he enrolled at the University of Moscow and
chose to study law and economics. Quite successful in his
profession—he was offered a professorship (chair of Roman Law)
at the University of Dorpat—he started painting studies
(life-drawing, sketching art and anatomy) at the age of 30.
In 1896 he settled in Munich and studied at the Academy of
Fine Arts, Munich. He went back to Moscow in 1914 after
World War I started. He was unsympathetic to the official
theories on art in Moscow and returned to Germany in 1921.
There he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and
architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933.
He then moved to France where he lived the rest of his life,
and became a French citizen in 1939. He died at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944.
Concerning the Spiritual In Art
Concerning the Spiritual In Art was originally published in 1911, Kandinsky compares the spiritual life of the humanity to a large Triangle similar to a pyramid; the artist has the task and the mission of leading others to the top by the exercise of his talent.
The point of the Triangle is constituted only by some
individuals who bring the sublime bread to men. It is a
spiritual Triangle which moves forward and rises slowly,
even if it sometimes remains immobile. During decadent
periods, souls fall to the bottom of the Triangle and men
only search for the external success and ignore purely
When we look at colors on the painter's palette, a double
effect happens: a purely physical effect on the eye, charmed
by the beauty of colors firstly, which provokes a joyful
impression as when we eat a delicacy. But this effect can be
much deeper and cause an emotion and a vibration of the soul
, or an inner resonance which is a purely spiritual effect,
by which the color touches the soul.
The Inner Workings
The inner necessity is for the artist, the principle of the
creation and the foundation of forms and colors' harmony. He
defines it as the principle of the efficient contact of the
form with the human soul. Every form is the delimitation of a surface by another one; it possesses an inner content which is the effect it produces on the one who looks at it attentively. This inner necessity is the right of the artist to an unlimited freedom, but this freedom becomes a crime if it is not founded on such a necessity. The art work is born from the inner necessity of the artist in a mysterious, enigmatic and mystic way, and then it acquires an autonomous life; it becomes an independent subject animated by a spiritual breath.
The first obvious properties we can see in the artist's when we look at
isolated color and let it act alone; it is on one side the
warmth or the coldness of the colored tone, and on the other
side the clarity or the obscurity of the tone.
The warmth is a tendency to yellow, the coldness a tendency
to blue. The yellow and the blue form the first big contrast,
which is dynamic. The yellow possesses an eccentric movement
and the blue a concentric movement, a yellow surface seems
to get closer to us, while a blue surface seems to move away.
The yellow is the typically terrestrial color whose violence
can be painful and aggressive. The blue is the typically
celestial color which evokes a deep calm in Kandinsky's work. The mixing of blue with yellow gives the total immobility and calm, the green.
Clarity is a tendency to the white and obscurity a tendency
to the black. The white and the black form the second big
contrast, which is static. The white acts like a deep and
absolute silence full of possibilities. The black is a
nothingness without possibility, it is an eternal silence
without hope, it corresponds to death. That’s why any other
color resonates so strongly on its neighbors. The mixing of
white with black leads to gray, which possesses no active
force and whose affective tonality is near that of green.
The gray corresponds to immobility without hope; it tends to
despair when it becomes dark and regains little hope when it
The red is a warmth color, very living, lively and agitated,
it possesses an immense force, it is a movement in oneself.
Mixed with black, it leads to brown which is a hard color.
Mixed with yellow, it gains in warmth and gives the orange
which possesses an irradiating movement on the surroundings.
Mixed with blue, it moves away from man to give the purple,
which is cooled red. The red and the green form the third
big contrast, the orange and the purple the fourth one.
Book Review: Concerning The Spiritual In Art
In my travels I managed to find the book Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Kandinsky...
Also an interesting book review by, "A Customer!"
"A Customers," Review:
He spent a lifetime painting in search of the spiritual. His body of work was his philosophical opus, provoked initially by the prodigious philosophical works of Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, in which she introduced the Western world--and Kandinsky--to Eastern philosophies. He believed that art had a duty to be spiritual in nature, an expression of "inner need," as he came to call it. He called "art for art's sake" a "vain squandering of artistic power." This book was both his call to artists to meet their obligation to humanity and his attempt to define and explain color and form in its relation to expressing the message of the soul.
Some Lovely Posters....
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It's great...you can see it in a larger size and even what it will look like framed on a wall.... Amazing!