“Color
directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers,
the soul is the piano with many strings.” Wassily Kandinsky once stated this in
a book he wrote called Concerning the Spiritual in Art in 1911. Kandinsky was a
Russian artist who played a large role in the Abstract and Expressionist art
movements in the early 1900’s. He is known for describing painting in musical
terms and producing very abstract and expressive pieces of artwork throughout
his career, making Kandinsky a very influential artist in the world of art and design
today. Wassily Kandinsky was born December 4th, 1866 in Moscow, Russia. As a
young boy, Kandinsky studied law but also enjoyed art and music. He attended
the University of Moscow for law and economics. He later became a professor for
Roman Law at the University of Dorpat. When Kandinsky was 30 years old, he
decided to attend the University of Munich to study painting, life drawing,
sketching, and anatomy. At first, he was not accepted into the school for art
so in the meantime he taught himself and was influenced by Monet and Richard
Wagner. He was also influenced by Anthroposophy; a philosophy founded by Rudolf
Steiner that reflects spiritual questions of humanity. At the beginning of WWI,
he returned to Moscow but didn’t find much artistic inspiration there.

Kandinsky then returned to Munich in 1921 where he began to teach at the
Bauhaus School of Architecture until it was shut down by the Nazi’s in 1933.

After Bauhaus was closed he moved to France and eventually became a citizen,
living there until he died. Wassily Kandinsky’s paintings are based on inner
beauty, personal experiences, and beliefs. His paintings started movements of
abstract and expressionism. Abstract art uses the visuals of color, form,
shape, and line to have a non-objective impact. Expressionism originally began
in poetry and painting, starting in Germany in the early 1900s. Typical traits
were to showcase the world from a certain perspective, distorting it for
emotional effect in order to create moods or ideas. Kandinsky did many of his
abstract “Composition” paintings in oil paint. In a piece of his work titled
“Composition VI” he tries to capture an image of a flood, a baptism,
destruction and rebirth simultaneously. He spent nearly 6 months preparing to
create it. He started to outline his work on a wooden panel but soon was hit
with an artists’ block and found himself unable to paint. His assistant at the
time proposed that he repeat the word “uberflut,” meaning “flood,” and to focus
on the sound of the word instead of its meaning to help release his mind from
the artistic block. Kandinsky had sat down to work, repeated the word, and
completed the painting in three days. Wassily Kandinsky is a very significant
artist and theorist in the world of art and design. Having an interest in art,
he expressed himself in non-objective ways and found music as an inspiration to
his work. He laid out the foundation for the Expressionism and Abstract movements.

Kandinsky is a very important figure to the world of art and design today, his
work shaped the culture of creating today.

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