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All Saints Day With A Twist

Magda Michalska 1 November 2016 min Read

First of November for many of the people looks like this:

Typical 1st of November

[caption id="attachment_2180" align="aligncenter" width="471"]William-Adolphe Bouguereau, All Saints Day, 1859 William-Adolphe Bouguereau, All Saints Day, 1859[/caption] Ok, maybe not sooooo dramatic. But the fact is, people go to the cemeteries, leave a candle at their relatives' graves, pray. The grey aura of November is not helping to lift the spirits. This is why we want to present you this holiday with a colourful twist.

Unusual 1st of November

[caption id="attachment_2183" align="aligncenter" width="404"]Wassily Kandinsky, All Saints' Day (Allerheiligen) (plate, folio 46) from Klänge (Sounds), 1913 Wassily Kandinsky, All Saints' Day (Allerheiligen) (plate, folio 46) from Klänge (Sounds), 1913, MoMA[/caption] The drama disappeared, the family remained. They are closed in an embrace and have sad expressions. Yet the environment is penetrated by bright colours and abstract forms. This woodcut looks a lot like Russian folk art in its stylistic choice of cut-out-like forms. It's a pity Kandinsky's plan to publish a series of such woodcuts in Russia didn't take off.

Pretty abstract 1st of November

[caption id="attachment_2181" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Wassily Kandinsky, All Saints Day I, 1911, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus Wassily Kandinsky, All Saints Day I, 1911, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus[/caption] In the times of Kandinsky, that is before Mondrian, the term abstraction would still be used to describe figurative painting which, however, did not make much sense. You can see it here: we have figures standing in the centre of the composition, in the right lower corner there is bearded figure who can be Death or a ghost, there is a weird flower/loudspeaker growing out from nowhere and an angel with a trumpet. The unmissable detail is the rider on his horse which appears also in the previous work.

Even more abstract 1st of November

[caption id="attachment_2182" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Wassily Kandinsky, All Saints Day I, 1911, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus Wassily Kandinsky, All Saints Day II, 1911, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus[/caption] The well defined figures from the previous work melt here together with the background to create a chaotic and very dynamic composition. The Death appears this time on the left, and so does the angel in the top left-hand corner. Good that Kandinsky gave us a title to guide us, otherwise it would be quite difficult to guess what we are meant to see here: saints partying or ordinary people having the time of their lives before the biblical trumpet of the Apocalypse?