The interplay of color and form as Kandinsky explored and linked to spirituality

The interplay of color and form as Kandinsky explored and linked to spirituality
  • “… lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and … stop thinking!

Today, we are exploring the world of Kandinsky, the question of colors and the Concerning the spiritual in art.

Quote from a letter to Schönberg, 1911: “In your works, you have realized what I, albeit in uncertain form, have so greatly longed for in music. The independent progress through their own destinies, the independent life of the individual voices in your compositions is exactly what I am trying to find in my paintings.”

The centuries old question remains, when will we start seeing with our ears and hearing with our eyes?

Was it synesthesia or multidisciplinary in art

I believe that we all still live in the world where art is observed as a fragmented, the expression of the immaterial in various disciplines. The fragmentation is no doubt the remntant from our Industrial age, the time when effectivness and the economy of scale were the dominating ideals. Kandinsky, although living in that period was able to foresee the connectivity of various mediums through which we perceive the ethereal.  In his own words: “In each picture is a whole lifetime imprisoned, a whole lifetime of fears, doubts, hopes, and joys. Whither is this lifetime tending? What is the message of the competent artist? … To harmonize the whole is the task of art.”

As the new art forms were emerging at the time as a result of technology, and social changes, there is no doubt that Kandinsky observed the power of merging various sensory artistic expression into whole.

The arts are encroaching one upon another, and from a proper use of this encroachment will rise the art that is truly monumental. Every man who steeps himself in the spiritual possibilities of his art is a valuable helper in the building of the spiritual pyramid which will some day reach to heaven. 

“Kandinsky compares the spiritual life of humanity to a pyramid—the artist has a mission to lead others to the pinnacle with his work. The point of the pyramid is those few, great artists. It is a spiritual pyramid, advancing and ascending slowly even if it sometimes appears immobile. During decadent periods, the soul sinks to the bottom of the pyramid; humanity searches only for external success, ignoring spiritual forces” (Wikipedia)


Spiritual in Art

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Soft Hard, 1927

Composition X, 1939

Composition IX

Designs of today are greatly focused on minimalism and symmetry


No doubt the influence of modern design and even the scope and importance came to be more prominent that ever in history, yet today’s trends designwise seem to be unified in a slow moving pyramid, just like it was the case in Kandinsky’s world:

The whole triangle is moving slowly, almost invisibly forwards and upwards. Where the apex was today the second segment is tomorrow; what today can be understood only by the apex and to the rest of the triangle is an incomprehensible gibberish, forms tomorrow the true thought and feeling of the second segment.

At the apex of the top segment stands often one man, and only one. His joyful vision cloaks a vast sorrow. Even those who are nearest to him in sympathy do not understand him. Angrily they abuse him as charlatan or madman. So in his lifetime stood Beethoven, solitary and insulted.

A symphony of colors through history

Newton was the first one who observed the spectrum of color and created a Color Wheel later to be disputed by Goethe who wrote the Theory of colours in 1810 (free download of ebook), focusing on psychological and philosophical aspects through which we perceive.

Composition VII—according to Kandinsky, the most complex piece he ever painted (1913)

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