I’ve never quite understood the point of abstract art. I’ve heard it said that when looking at any abstract piece of art you’re not supposed to say what you think it looks like but rather, how it makes you feel. When I stand in front of an abstract painting all I can think of is what it I think it looks like. After that, I can analyze how it makes me feel.
Wassily Kandinsky began his life of painting as a representational artist focusing on pastoral scenes. Even still, his representational paintings are quite abstract. He soon made a shift into artworks that were inspired by his devotion to Christian themes. He was a devout Orthodox Christian who included many biblical themes in his art.
Born in Moscow on Dec. 16, 1866. He is considered a father of the abstract art movement. He believed the inner life of an artist could be expressed by brilliant colors in geometric patterns. His paintings have been labeled explosive in their design and execution
Kandinsky lived with a neurological anomaly known as Synesthesia. His type was Chromosthesia, the ability to see (inwardly) color when hearing music. He tried to present to the world paintings that would explain the connection between music and color, as he experienced it.
In Munich, Kandinsky was accepted into a prestigious private painting school and moved on to the Munich Academy of Arts. But much of his study was self-directed. He began with conventional themes and art forms, but all the while he was forming theories derived from devoted spiritual study and informed by an intense relationship between music and color. These theories coalesced through the first decade of the 20th century, leading him toward his ultimate status as the father of abstract art
The Last Judgement
For Wassily, paintings became more about the emotions colors evoked than a depiction of subject matter.
Kandinsky was also considered an “art theorist” He believed that different colors create different moods within the human brain. For example:
Red is an energetic color and those who see red feel more alive and focused.
Blue brings up moods that dwell in our innermost places and is associated with supernatural thoughts.
White is a cool, calm place just waiting for possibilities. In the following quote you can begin to understand how important linking color to music really was.
“The sun melts all of Moscow down to a single spot that, like a mad tuba, starts all of the heart and all of the soul vibrating. But no, this uniformity of red is not the most beautiful hour. It is only the final chord of a symphony that takes every colour to the zenith of life that, like the fortissimo of a great orchestra, is both compelled and allowed by Moscow to ring out.”
Wassily was married twice and had a lover for ten years in between the two.
Kandinsky worked for many years in as an instructor for the Bauhaus but eventually pressure from the Nazis chased the Bauhaus out of Germany in 1932. It was dissolved in 1933 and he moved to Paris. Wassily Kandinsky died in France in 1944, at the age of 77. His death was caused by cerebrovascular disease, a grouping of symptoms related to not enough blood flow to the brain.
Kandinsky had one son, Vsevolod, who seems to have had an unremarkable life. His parents divorced when he was five years old and he was raised by his aunt and his father. This was the only information that I could find.
How you do feel about a link between color and music? Have you ever experienced anything like Chromothesia? How do different colors influence your mood?
Leave a comment. I'd love to know!