Concerning the Spiritual in Art
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A pioneering work in the movement to free art from its traditional bonds to material reality, this book is one of the most important documents in the history of modern art. Written by the famous nonobjective painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), it explains Kandinsky's own theory of painting and crystallizes the ideas that were influencing many other modern artists of the period. Along with his own groundbreaking paintings, this book had a tremendous impact on the development of modern art.
Kandinsky's ideas are presented in two parts. The first part, called "About General Aesthetic," issues a call for a spiritual revolution in painting that will let artists express their own inner lives in abstract, non-material terms. Just as musicians do not depend upon the material world for their music, so artists should not have to depend upon the material world for their art. In the second part, "About Painting," Kandinsky discusses the psychology of colors, the language of form and color, and the responsibilities of the artist. An Introduction by the translator, Michael T. H. Sadler, offers additional explanation of Kandinsky's art and theories, while a new Preface by Richard Stratton discusses Kandinsky's career as a whole and the impact of the book. Making the book even more valuable are nine woodcuts by Kandinsky himself that appear at the chapter headings.
This English translation of Über das Geistige in der Kunst was a significant contribution to the understanding of nonobjectivism in art. It continues to be a stimulating and necessary reading experience for every artist, art student, and art patron concerned with the direction of 20th-century painting.
in the clouds, threatened by them with death, eternally menaced by some invisible and sombre power. Spiritual darkness, the insecurity of ignorance and fear pervade the world in which they move. Maeterlinck is perhaps one of the first prophets, one of the first artistic reformers and seers to herald the end of the decadence just described. The gloom of the spiritual atmosphere, the terrible, but all-guiding hand, the sense of utter fear, the feeling of having strayed from the path, the confusion
composition of a picture.] This is the principle of antithesis already defined. Red by itself cannot have a sad effect on the spectator, and its inclusion in a sad picture will, if properly handled, provide the dramatic element. [Footnote: The use of terms like "sad" and "joyful" are only clumsy equivalents for the delicate spiritual vibrations of the new harmony. They must be read as necessarily inadequate.] Yet again is the case of a red tree different. The fundamental value of red remains, as
seem to stand out against the black background of Composition X, as stars' fragments or filaments, while enigmatic hieroglyphs with pastel tones cover the large maroon mass, which seems to float in the upper left corner of the canvas. In Kandinsky's works, some characteristics are obvious while certain touches are more discrete and veiled; that is to say they reveal themselves only progressively to those who make the effort to deepen their connection with his work. He intended his forms, which
This is Kandinsky's most recent work. Also the back and current numbers of Der Sturm, a weekly paper published in Berlin in the defence of the new art. Illustrations by Marc, Pechstein, le Fauconnier, Delaunay, Kandinsky, etc. Also poems and critical articles. Price per weekly number 25 pfg. Der Sturm has in preparation an album of reproductions of pictures and drawings by Kandinsky. For Cubism cf. Gleizes et Metzinger, "du Cubisme," and Guillaume Apollinaire, "Les Peintres Cubistes."
which means that they recognize and value the personality, individuality and temperament of the artist up to a certain definite point. This point has been fixed by others, and in it they believe unflinchingly. But despite their patent and well-ordered security, despite their infallible principles, there lurks in these higher segments a hidden fear, a nervous trembling, a sense of insecurity. And this is due to their upbringing. They know that the sages, statesmen and artists whom today they