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- Concerning The Spiritual-and The Concrete-in Kandinsky's Art
- Lisa Florman | Department of History of Art
- Wassily Kandinsky and his paintings
If Hegel can help us to see Kandinsky anew, Florman's study suggests the inverse is also true. She also enlarges the broad literature on the history of color theory, the significance of abstraction for the diverse modern movements, and the meaning of such terms as materiality and subjectivity in current critical discourse. The book is further enhanced by a sequence of 24 superb color plates and 49 monochrome illustrations of other pictorial work by Kandinsky and contemporaries, together with interesting diagrams. This well-produced volume includes a concise index and efficacious endnotes that also serve as the bibliography.
Setting out to do nothing less than reframe central issues in our understanding of one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, Florman insists that we take seriously Kandinsky's ambitions not only as a pioneering abstract painter but also as a writer engaged with philosophical aesthetics.
Vigorously argued, this is a book intended to spark debate.
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It deserves a wide readership in art history and beyond. Florman cogently demonstrates that we have had it all wrong and that Kandinsky's On the Spiritual in Art is directly and profoundly indebted to the philosophy of Hegel. To my knowledge, this is the first book entirely dedicated to one of the most important art treatises of the 20th century, and it patiently upturns almost everything we thought we knew about it. It was during his time at the college he reprised his childhood interest in art, and in particular, the symbolic character of color and its religious implications.
He experienced a type of epiphany upon seeing a Monet exhibit in Moscow. Initially put off by the artist's Impressionistic Haystacks paintings, Kandinsky found nevertheless that Monet's use of color impacted him in a significant manner, taking on an almost mythic power. During the same period, the artist attended a performance of Wagner's opera, "Lohengrin," which had a similarly strong effect on his sensibilities. It sparked a synesthetic experience where the notes that he heard became colors and visual images, a perception that could instruct his notions about art. After only three decades of instruction, Kandinsky registered in a Munich art school to study with Anton Azbe, a Slovenian Realist whose forte was figure drawing.
In Azbe's studio, Kandinsky worked beside fellow Russian Alexej von Jawlensky, a future Expressionist who familiar his new friend with the town's avant-garde society. After two decades of tutelage, Kandinsky took a year to hone his craft before entering the Munich Academy to study with Franz von Stuck, a demanding traditionalist who had been the city's leading painter at the moment. The master's emphasis on Symbolism in his work in addition to his focus on creativity proved inspirational to his pupils.
Kandinsky and some of his colleagues founded an artists' group named Phalanx in , a response to the restrictive status quo of the Munich art scene. In , the artist painted his first landmark art, "Der Blaue Reiter" or The Blue Rider, an Impressionistic scene of a guy in a blue cape astride a white horse.
In this first decade of the 20th century, the artist developed a progressively innovative style that reflected the consequences of these schools as Fauvism, Pointillism and Expressionism. His characters became less distinct, his compositions progressively planar. In these pieces as"Munich-Schwabing with the Church of St.
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Ursula" and"Autumn Study Near Oberau," the interplay of color took precedence over traditional form. In , Kandinsky was instrumental in founding Neue Kunstlervereinigung Munchen, or New Artists' Association of Munich, a group of radical artists whose daring strategy was far removed from the mainstream art of the age.
Concerning The Spiritual-and The Concrete-in Kandinsky's Art
The artist's budding abstract design started to blossom in this period with functions that de-emphasized traditional boundaries like line and form, focusing rather on the communication of emotion through the juxtaposition of color. In , Kandinsky finished an untitled watercolor that art experts consider to be his first truly abstract painting. Like his Swiss buddy painter Paul Klee, Kandinsky was a gifted musician, and his abstract paintings are often described as 'painted music.
Similar to music which does not have any concrete form but is a direct reflection of the composer's senses, Kandinsky's abstract art sought to remove the intermediary, objective world and depict his inner vision right on the canvas, expressed in terms of color and movement. In , the New Artists of Munich rejected one of Kandinsky's entrances for their exhibit. Kandinsky's first publication exploring abstract art concept, "Concerning the Spiritual in Art," was published in In it, he explained the method behind what many critics of the time believed to be his insanity: his revolutionary approach to visual art.
From the treatise, Kandinsky attempts to vanquish what he terms the nightmare of materialism in favor of educated spiritualism in artwork and makes a case for the similarity of audio and visual art concerning expression.
Lisa Florman | Department of History of Art
The artist used musical phrases such as"improvisation" and"composition" in the names of his pre-war paintings, highlighting the connection between the two art forms. The critical response of the mainstream art community to Kandinsky's first abstract attempts was uncharitable at best, and the artist knew it to gain approval for his work; he couldn't abruptly sever all connections to the convention.
Because of this, a few of the pieces he produced during the second decade of the 20th century kept a few recognizable items.
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By way of instance, Winter Landscape from contains the outline of a home and triangular trees while Sketch A from includes a stylized picture of a troika pulled by a trio of horses, which can be represented by three lines and three indistinct heads. He also led the Moscow Museum for Pictorial Culture. In his art, he had been drawing ever nearer to complete abstraction.
In , Kandinsky started teaching at the Bauhaus school of applied art and architecture in Weimar, Germany.
Wassily Kandinsky and his paintings
He published his second treatise on art theory the following year, entitled"Point to Art. From the early s, Germany was entirely under control by the Nazi Party, and Hitler was able to collect up to 16, avant-garde artworks which were initially in a screen in the temples of Germany. He also ordered to boat about artworks to Munich in preparation for his art exhibition called Degenerate Art. Shortly Nazi regime shut down the Bauhaus school, and Kandinsky moved to Paris.
One of his paintings of the time was"Development in Brown," a somber collage of rectangles and circles enclosing a vibrant banner of triangles. Historians draw a connection between the painting and the brown-uniformed Nazi soldiers that had been emerging throughout Germany in growing numbers. In Paris, the artist incorporated the sense of order that divides the Bauhaus to his job with geometric figures and a much more outstanding compositional balance.
go to site His painting, Striped out of , is a combination of balls and squares with dissecting lines. Horizontal from is a black and white color checkerboard with different geometric or free-form symbols in each square.
Two of his last masterworks, Composition IX from and Composition X from , bring together the many elements of Kandinsky's vision and style in completely fresh ways.