Wassily Kandinsky is chiefly associated with Der Blaue Reiter – an international group of avant-guarde artists based in Munich who believed that art can save the humanity. However, before this Russia-born artist became the leader and main theorist of the group who pulled painting towards abstraction, he painted in a wonderfully vibrant style influenced by Pointilism of Seurat and Fauvism of Matisse. Moreover, the colourful worlds of his canvases were immersed in the ethereal atmosphere of Russian folk tales, which to me are very wintery and magic.
Exactly today, 150 years ago, Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow. To mark this round anniversary, on the 20th of December 2016 The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts will open a new exhibition dedicated to the artist. It will include small watercolours, drawings, and glass pictures created in 1915-1920 when Kandinsky returned to Russia forced to leave Germany after the outbreak of the WW1.
Kandinsky was a very talented writer, and his most important work which influenced the development of art was called: “On the Spiritual in Art”, which he published in 1912. One of the most important quotes from this book which synthesizes his ideas on the role of art and artists goes: Colour is a means of exerting direct influence on the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hands which plays touching one key or another purposively to cause vibrations in the Soul.
In 1918 he said: Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and… stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to ‘walk about’ into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?
This captivating work was made with a folk Bavarian technique of reverse oil painting on glass called hinterglasmalerei. It means that an artist draws in reverse, taking into account perception of a viewer. This scene is one of many which depict ladies and cavaliers, horse riders and amazons painted in the style of early symbolism. Kandinsky called them bagatelles. You’ll be able to see them in Russia, so hurry up with all the visa stuff, Kandinsky is worth it! The exhibition will be open till February 2017.