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Wassily Kandinsky: Concerning the Spiritual in Art Paperback – June 11, 2010
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First, Kandinsky was greatly influenced by music and recognized that music was judged under different standards than was painting. For example, music is not judged by how much the music sounds like noises in nature. We would never go to a symphony to hear the musicians imitate dogs barking, or ambulance sirens, or police whistles. Yet painting is judged by how well the painter reflects the natural world in a realistic style. Thus for Kandinsky, the ability for painting to lose the object, would free painting to pursue the spiritual. However, the ability for the painter to paint without painting the object is very much a challenge. He gives advice to the read on the use of line, form, and color to try to achieve this goal. But Kandinsky recognized how fragile this makes the painting process, for any brush stroke or color or shape can evoke the material world again. Kandinsky wishes the artist to free themselves from the material world so that they can express their inner impulses. Thus the abstract painting requires contemplation to reveal its meaning. Furthermore, the meaning may be a projection of the inner life of the viewer as much as it is the inner life of the artists. This concept is not new to music but it certainly was new to painting in 1911. Now we hear about the Rothko chapel in Fort Worth, where large abstract paintings by Mark Rothko create a meditative space for contemplative viewers.Read more ›
Today, however, there aren't many of these manifstoes that possess more than quaint historical value. Kandinsky's 'Concerning the Spiritual in Art' is one, and probably to our own shame, speaks as loudly to us today as it did to the artist's contemporaries. A cry against all that is bogus or a dead-end in art - the bourgeois-currying; the trend-following; the excessively materialistic, naturalistic or representational; art in which formal invention is not matched by emotional power - the book demands a return to spirituality in art in an age where a godless faith in science has resulted in a soulless culture.
Kandinsky is the artist who said that 'Art was close to religion', and his concept of painting is heavly bound up with his Russian orthodox upbringing (as well as later exposure to theosophy). One does not have to be a card-carrying mystic, however, to recognise the truth of his central argument, that the only art with the power to truly move us is that which is ruthlessly faithful to the artist's inner need, not public taste or contemporary styles.
this belief led Kandinsky towards abstraction: he rejected the idea that a painter should draw what was on the surface, instead of its inherent spirit or harmony (if this led to a cul-de-sac in 20th century art, this is because Kandinsky's mimics lacked his moral drive).Read more ›
This book is a very good read for anyone feeling slumped in their art making. And for anyone who wants to expose themselves to ways of thinking about art. By the third time I had read the material I had underlined and highlighted almost every line and filled all the margins with notes. The book is fantastic. It is especially good when paired with Hans Hofmann's essay "In Search for the Real." Although the ideas in the two books do not parallel. In fact the lines aren't even on the same page. Kandinksky's critiques of other familiar artists are very interesting too. Names like picasso and Cezanne pop up quite a bit.
I'll stop rambling now. Read the book, it is very good.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is non-fiction, so no plot, but the thesis effulges throughout the book. I found it very meaningful and essential to my understanding of abstract as well as representational... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sarah Danielle Taraz
awesome. recommend it to art lovers and those interested in the pioneers of 20th century artPublished 1 month ago by John Zhune
I found, given Kandinsky's fabulous reputation as an artist, that this text was surprisingly un-creative and un-inspired. Read morePublished 2 months ago by N. Coppedge
The narration concept doesn't quite fit as a description of the book;
it's a philosophical observation of art and well worth reading.
Very heady excellent book on Spirit and Art. Must read for an Artist.Published 3 months ago by Lawrence
Fascinating ideas from a great artist. Kandinsky provides a fresh perspective, even now a 100 years later, about art, culture, reality.Published 4 months ago by Maxtheboxer
I was rather disappointed with this text for all the superlatives that I had seen about it. It is a manifesto and call to arms for the modern movement which is all good but he... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rafi S.
I’ll have to say I feel like I have only gleaned the surface of Kandinsky’s meaning relative to the spiritual in art. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Alicia Crumpton