Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866. He studied economics and law at the University of Moscow before becoming a professor.
He was 30 before he went to Munich, Germany and began to truly study art. He focused, at first, on creating sketches and studies of human bodies.
He settled in Germany after World War I where he taught art at the Bauhaus school and painted until the Nazis came into power. At that point (1933), he went back to France where he remained for the rest of his life.
On a somewhat-side note, the Nazis took some of Kandinsky’s paintings, displayed them in a collection of art they deemed inappropriate and unworthy, and then destroyed the paintings. The exhibition was called “Degenerate Art.” I will post more about this tomorrow.
Kandinsky’s earliest paintings were quite realistic. Then he moved into a style similar to that of the Impressionists before he began creating completely abstract paintings. Yesterday I used Monet’s Water Lilies to show this movement toward the abstract. Today, you can see that Kandinsky developed the same way except that Kandinsky became a truly abstract artist in the end. Check out Olga’s Kandinsky Gallery for pictures. All (or at least most) of his works are posted there in order. As you click through the pages, you can clearly see Kandinsky’s work become more and more abstract.
Kandinsky was especially interested in color, even as a child. Beginning in his earlier, more realistic paintings, Kandinsky used color to show emotion rather than to make objects look real. As he grew as an artist, Kandinsky became more concerned with the power of color in describing what he was feeling. He wanted to use color to make his viewers feel emotion, too.
Gradually, Kandinsky became more abstract. He began to paint objects as patches of color instead of painting perfect details such as facial features or individual leaves on trees. Remember that Kandinsky studied the human body and knew how to paint people well. He liked the abstract more than the realistic. As he grew as an artist, his figures became less realistic until the viewer could no longer identify known objects in his paintings.
Kandinsky was trying to create the same effect on a viewer of his paintings as a beautiful piece of music has on a listener. When you listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, for example, you don’t see snow or swirling fall leaves, or a muddy spring garden after a rain storm. You feel the seasons happening but you don’t actually see them. This is what Kandinsky was trying to do in his paintings.
Kandinsky’s ideas about art are possibly more important than even the paintings he created. He wrote three books about his ideas.
There are two Kandinsky projects posted at Art Projects for Kids. They both look pretty good but I’ve only tried this one, not this one. If you do either of the projects, please comment about your experience. I would love to hear about it and other readers would benefit from your comments as well. Happy creating!
EDITED TO ADD: Practice Geometry Using Kandinky's Art
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