Creativity and life philosophy of Wassily Kandinsky: 5 instructions of the artist

“Technically, every piece of art emerges in the same way as space – through disasters.
Creating a work of art – is creating the world.”
Wassily Kandinsky.

Wassily Kandinsky is considered one of the leaders of avant-garde art and one of the founders of abstractionism in painting at the beginning of the XX century. As a lawyer, art was only a hobby of his up to the age of 30, until he saw Monet’s painting “The Haystack”. It was then that he began to study painting (drawing, drawing and anatomy) thoroughly.

Sergey Dvorianchikov. «Hello, Vasily Kandinsky» painting

The life of the Russian master is a brilliant career of an artist, an engraver, a watercolourist and a theoretician. Kandinsky’s monumental achievements span many artistic movements of the first half of the twentieth century – he was influenced by the Impressionists, Postimpressionists and Fauvists. With his abstract forms and bold colours, Wassily Kandinsky was a revolutionist. Hated by the Nazis, he not only painted, but also taught other artists to think outside the box. He often took part in exhibitions, taught art classes and published his ideas on art theories.

Konovalov Roman. «Kandinsky Line» painting

Painting was, above all, deeply spiritual for Kandinsky. He sought to convey the deep spirituality and depth of human emotion through a universal visual language of abstract forms and colors that transcended cultural and physical boundaries. The creation of a purely abstract style by Kandinsky did not happen suddenly, but rather after a long period of development and maturing of his own theoretical analysis based on his personal experience of painting. Kandinsky called this devotion to inner beauty, a deep spiritual desire for inner necessity, which was the central aspect of his art. Thus, his legacy is not limited to painting, but also covers important aspects of human existence.

Lubart Camille. «Haunted Still Life» painting

Kandinsky did not see objective abstract art as the ideal visual way to express the artist’s “inner necessity”, but to convey universal human emotions and ideas. For artists like Kandinsky, portraying reality was no longer a goal. The Russian artist wanted to portray the truth he found in people and to reflect this inner world of emotion on canvas with abstract colors and forms.

Harazova Alena. «Senzukht. The Ninth Sense» painting

Music also inspired him to create paintings with high spirituality rather than visual fidelity. Kandinsky had the gift of synesthesia, a unity of sensory perception. In his treatise “On the Spiritual in Art” (1911), Kandinsky drew an analogy between abstract painting and music, noting that “for several centuries music was an art that dedicated itself not to reproducing natural phenomena, but rather to expressing the artist’s soul in musical sound.”

Thus, under the influence of Christian theology, the works of Claude Monet, Wagner’s music and general theosophy, Kandinsky became a holistic artist and thinker, creating completely new concepts in art. His theoretical works illuminate not only those who have devoted their lives to art, but also everyone who is looking for suitable ways to explore life.

Tryndyk Vasily. «Fata morgana» painting

As a result of the artist’s persistent and long-term self-analysis, one can highlight five of the most important lessons of existence and creativity that Kandinsky left us:

• Living a life full of color
Deeply spiritual artist Kandinsky spoke about the therapeutic properties of color and understood the two levels of its impact on people. The first includes aesthetic pleasure in a simple act of observing color, and the second corresponds to what Kandinsky called “internal resonance” when the spiritual impact of color affects the human soul.

Tryndyk Vasily. «UFO» painting

• It’s important to take breaks
As an exceptionally prolific and hardworking artist, Kandinsky recognized the importance of resting from the work process. The retreats and breaks allow you to see your project from a clear perspective, to evaluate the work with a rested mind and finish it with better results. This lesson can be easily applied to any areas of life.

• Allow your style to evolve
As mentioned above, Kandinsky’s achievements cover almost all the major artistic movements of the first half of the twentieth century. This artist was aware of the benefits of transition from one aesthetic style to another and emphasized the great importance to artistic and psychological flexibility.

• Trust the power of contrast
Kandinsky was always aware of the power of contrast between colour and form. His most powerful work has always been based on the implicit power of contrast balance – another lesson of being applicable to many spheres of life.

Tryndyk Vasily. “Past and future» painting

• To recognize the importance of the inner self
If all of Wassily Kandinsky’s wise lessons could be combined into one, it would be an “inner necessity” as a balance between the outside world and spiritual content. Kandinsky’s paintings are extremely colorful works that not only reflect an aesthetic perception, but also a complete understanding of the artist’s inner world. Kandinsky created an artistic language based on the symbolism of each shape and color. Thus, a healthy balance between exterior and interior, between form and color is essential in everyday life. To get a better grasp of Kandinsky’s life lessons through paintings in the style of abstractionism, I sincerely advise you to evaluate and find paintings of our hypermarket.

Commentary from an art historian

“On the merger of several arts, such as music and painting, firstly wrote Schopenhauer, then Wagner, a German composer. When the young Russian professor began to see music, he said “I saw all my paints, they stood before my eyes rabid, almost mad lines, they were drawn in front of me …”. In the same 1886, Wassily Kandinsky’s love of art prompted him to visit an exhibition of French Impressionists in Moscow, where he first saw Monet’s “Haystacks”. It was at this moment that the thirty-year-old Kandinsky suddenly got it and was aware of what he was supposed to do! In December of the same year he went to Munich, where he began to study painting.

Like many artists, Wassily Kandinsky did not find his unique artistic language at once. One of his first works clearly shows the influence of Monet and Van Gogh (“Munich. Planegg 1” 1901). Van Gogh’s expressionism is read in nerve lines, and the abundance of bright sunshine reminds us of the landscapes of Monet. The same notes are easily captured in another Munich work from 1901, “Munich. The English Garden.” It was only in 1911, after a concert of a Vienna composer Arnold Schoenberg, that Kandinsky wrote his first abstract work. A year before that, in 1910 the artist began his “Compositions” and created a real pictorial symphony.

Wassily Kandinsky managed to understand that abstraction is the missing magical ingredient that allows to combine music and painting and make a musical symphony out of a painting. Look closely, because we are really starting to hear the colours and catch sounds in the strokes. One of the art critics wrote very precisely about Kandinsky’s work: “The paints seem to collide, rattling like copper plates, the yellow lines roar like pipes and the black circle in the center cries like a string group.” It was in the 1910s, 40 years after the beginning of the revolution in art, artists have achieved the final break with tradition and go into the non-objective art.

Kandinsky was not only an artist but also an art theorist, primarily a theorist of abstract painting and colour. His favourite colours were yellow and blue, he describes them in a very interesting way in his works “Dynamic Theory of Colours” and “On the Spiritual in Art”. Wassily Kandinsky was unique also because he had the gift to depict music through color, which in psychology is called «synesthesia». It is difficult to exaggerate the creative genius of Kandinsky, so the 5 formulated instructions of the artist can be safely applied in all spheres of life. Wassily Kandinsky proved by his example that nothing is impossible, the main thing is to listen to the call of your heart”.

Asya Bunjukchu, art historian at Op_Pop_Art School of Popular Art,
Master of Arts art historian, expert in attribution, author of scientific articles,
member of the union artists of Russia and the international association of art historians AIS.

Translated by Vera Klimashina