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16 December 2020

5 Facts About The Painter of Music: Wassily Kandinsky

Anna Harvey

By the late 19th century, the boundary between music and art had been severely blurred, as more and more artists embraced pseudo-spirituality and finding links between art forms and cancelling the distinction between them. Art, literature, poetry, music and performance became one spiritual experience.

Today would have been Wassily Kandinksy's 154th birthday, so we decided to bring you 5 fascinating facts about the Russian artist!

1. He experienced synthethisa 

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Intersecting Lines, 1923

The incredible artist experienced a neurological phenomenon called 'synesthesia' where he would see colours when he heard music, and heard music when he painted.

Very little is known about how synesthesia develops, but the few ideas surrounding this phenomenon suggest it manifests in childhood, when children are heavily involved with abstract concepts. 

2. He (arguably) created the first abstract artwork, ever

Picture with a Circle (1911) is said to be not only the first abstract painting in Kandinksy's career, but in the world. When creating the piece, Kandinsky was guided by colour, as it is through colour that the emotional value of the piece is established. 

Although he was inspired by nature, this only served to whet his appetite for creativity, it's through colour that the piece truly comes to life. 

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Picture in a Circle, 1911

3. He was a lawyer

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Colour study, Squares with concentric circles (1913)

The artist's path initially started in the eyes of the law, training at Moscow State University, after which he was offered the chance to teach at the University of Dorpat in present-day Estonia.

The young Kandinsky, however, swiftly declined, focussing his energy on canvas and officially launched his painting career. 

4. His art was confiscated by Nazis

Three of his first Compositions paintings were confiscated by Nazis in 1937, and exhibited in the infamous 'Degenerate Art' collection. 

The term "degenerate" was taken up by the National Socialist regime as part of its campaign against the 'threat' of modern art.


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Germans queuing for the "Entartete Kunst" (degenerate art exhibition), 1937

5. He saw art as a form of worship

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Black Grid, 1922

Kandinsky's book Concerning the Spiritual In Art (1910), claimed that "color is a power which directly influences the soul."

The artist believed that colour was not just the catalyst for an artwork, but allowed the viewer and artist to transcend earthly groundings and access a spiritual awakening.  


Our Abstract Selection!

Abstract Facts famous artist Kandinksy