5 Lessons On Art And Life From The Great Kandinsky
Beautiful tips for life and creation drawn from the genius of a Russian artist.
The artist must train not only his eyes but also his soul.
– Wassily Kandinsky
For many, the first great representative of all abstract art is Wassily Kandinsky. The Russian painter was, moreover, an important theorist of art and one who meticulously studied color and its relation to psychology. Thus, his legacy is not limited to artistry, but it also covered essential aspects of being human.
In addition to his career as an artist, Kandinsky did studies in Russian folklore, color symbolism, geometry and the intrinsic relationship between the artist and spirituality. This led him to speak of the creator figure as a sort of prophet. Another discipline he studied was music (which he called “the greatest of all teachers”).
Influenced by Christian eschatology, the work of Claude Monet, the music of Wagner and by theosophy, Kandinsky was an integral artist and thinker who created completely new concepts in art. His theoretical works illuminate not only those who dedicate their lives to creativity but also to anyone who seeks appropriate paths to the exercise of vital exploration. These are six of the most valuable lessons, for life and art, that Kandinsky left to us.
Live a life full of color
The ideology reflected in the work of Kandinsky privileges a life lived full of color, in contrast to the life of black and white. A deeply spiritual artist, Kandinsky spoke of the therapeutic properties of color and understood two levels to its effect on people. The first involves the aesthetic pleasure in the simple act of observing a color (similar to eating) and the second corresponds to what Kandinsky called “inner resonance,” the spiritual impact color can have within us and which touches the human soul.
Learn to take breaks
Despite being an exceptionally prolific and hard-working painter, Kandinsky knew the importance of taking breaks from work. The act of stepping back from any project allows you to see it with a clear perspective and to conclude it with better results. It’s a lesson that could easily be applied to any area of life.
Allow your style to evolve
Kandinsky’s trajectory never ceased to transform over his fruitful career. From his beginnings painting landscapes and evidently fauvist and pointillist works to a later body of work representing more sophisticated abstract art, Kandinsky knew the benefits of moving from one aesthetic style to another. He attached great importance to mental flexibility, an idea that could serve well for life in general.
Trust the power of contrast
Kandinsky was always aware of the power in the contrast of color and form, conceding qualities to the extremes of each and then using them to create a mutual balance. His most powerful work was always based on the implicit strength of the balance of extremes, another lesson in harmony that applies to other aspects of existence.
Recognize the importance of the inner being
If all the wise lessons of Wassily Kandinsky could be condensed into one, it might be summarized as an “inner necessity.” This is explained as a balance between appearance and content. Kandinsky’s paintings are extremely colorful works which not only respond to the pure aesthetic experience but also to the full awareness of an artist’s inner world. This results in a commitment to the deepest and most subjective emotions: always in shapes and colors. They’ve expressed their emotional world. Kandinsky created an entire language based on the symbolism of each form and every color. A healthy balance between exterior and interior, between form and content, is thus deeply necessary in daily life.
*Images: 1) The Lyrical; 2) Sky Blue by Wassily Kandinsky / Public Domain
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