Art: Wassily Kandinsky


(system) #1

By Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson

"Blue is the truly celestial color.... Black is like the silence of the body after death, the close of life." -Wassily Kandinsky

Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) is considered to be one of the principal founders of abstract art.

Between 1896 and 1911, Kandinsky experienced an artistic metamorphosis, which led him to form the group Der Blaue Reiter (the blue rider) with Franz Marc and other fellow expressionist artists, with the purpose of expressing the spiritual through art.

One of Kandinsky's most famous paintings, "Der Blaue Reiter," depicts a figure on horseback cloaked in blue. To Kandinsky, the sensations evoked by color created a spiritual experience.

Kandinsky wrote in On the Spiritual in Art, a book that had a profound influence on twentieth century art, "Blue is the truly celestial color. It creates an atmosphere of calmness--not like green, which represents an earthly self-satisfied stillness; it creates a solemn, supernatural depth."

In a 2004 address, art critic and professor Donald Kuspit reflected on Kandinsky's book and concluded that it is more difficult than ever to be a spiritual artist. The question, Kuspit said, is "whether contemporary artists have the emotional capacity that Kandinsky had--whether they are willing to go through the emotional struggle he went through."Have you read Kandinsky's On the Spiritual in Art? If so, what are you thoughts on the book? Would you agree with Kuspit that being a spiritual artist today is more challenging than ever? And if you haven't read On the Spiritual in Art and would like to, you candownload it as an e-book, read it online, or purchase a hard copy at Amazon.com.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4519