Thursday, April 30, 2009


Composition 8 July 1923
Vasily Kandinsky
55 1/8 x 79 1/8 inches
Image: 37.262

My choice of Kandinsky today stems from a head full of music. Hmm... what artist could I choose to represent my musical thoughts? Well, Kandinsky of course! If you are not familiar with Kandinsky's work, though many are due to his place at the forefront of modern abstraction and his incredibly popular colorful compositions, his work not only stems from his own musical background but the paintings themselves exude a wonderful musicality. My search for a specific work for today actually introduced me to a lot of work by Kandinsky I was unaware of. He underwent very specific changes over the years of his career, shifting from elements of more direct representation to variations on geometry. The composition in the upper right hand corner

This painting, Composition, a take on both the composition of music as well as painting, the lines and forms can be seen and heard as musical elements. This can be viewed resembles a musical staff. One's eyes initially dart around a Kandinsky painting but then settle in various areas, experiencing something new wherever their gaze falls. The thin dran lines aid in navigating the painting as a whole. The concentration of color and line can allude to differentiations in tone in music. "Kandinsky's use of color is Kandinsky, himself an accomplished musician, once said Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul. The concept that color and musical harmony are linked has a long history, intriguing scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. Kandinsky used color in a highly theoretical way associating tone with timbre (the sound's character), hue with pitch, and saturation with the volume of sound. He even claimed that when he saw color he heard music." (webmuseum)

Spend some time with the next Kandinsky you come across, its a dual cultural experience.