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Squares with Concentric Circles

also known as Farbstudie Quadrate

Artist: Wassily Kandinsky
Created: 1913

Abstract Art is considered by many to be one of the most important contributions made to the history of art in this century. Kandinsky is widely considered to be the originator of purely Abstract Art as he is the first artist to have created a completely abstract picture.

Kandinsky began painting late in life. In fact, he left a successful career in law when he moved to Munich to study art. He developed what he referred to as ‘non-objective painting’ late in his career (he was still painting landscapes as late as 1913). This is not all that surprising considering his work was unique and revolutionary.

One of Kandinsky’s earlier concerns with abstract art was that it relies on shapes, colors and lines which have no apparent connection to the real world for its effect, abstract art can fall easily into the production of art that is merely pattern making, which in Kandinsky’s opinion was spiritually dead and therefore not art at all. He later wrote a book called, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, in which he addresses this issue.

Kandinsky’s abstract paintings are charged with emotion. The further away from realistic renderings they became, the more evocative they were with the use of raw color, form and line. Kandinsky often referred to his abstract paintings in musical terms such as ‘melodic’, which involves a single form, and ‘symphonic’ which is several different forms subordinated to an overall design, as can be seen in Squares with Concentric Circles.

Color has a huge impact in abstract paintings and Kandinsky defined yellow as ‘an intense trumpet blast by its nature springing from the page’ and blue as having ‘a celestial sound that touches the depths’. These colors, both present in Squares with Concentric Circles, seem to justify Kandinsky’s descriptions.


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