Kandinsky and the Spiritual in Art

I’m re-reading Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art, which was first published in London in 1914 under the name, The Art of Spiritual Harmony.  Kandinsky. credited with creating the first modern abstract paintings, went through a long period of development and maturation as his art slowly lost it’s resemblance to three dimensional every-day reality.  Kandinsky’s art and his words remain an inspiration for artists today who seek to move beyond “art for art’s sake” and express universal spiritual truths with their work.

kandinskyIn his introduction Kandinsky says, “The nightmare of materialism, which has turned the life of the universe into an evil, useless game, is not yet past; it holds the awakening soul still in it grip”.  A little over one hundred years later these words speak succinctly to our current state of crisis.  The world financial crisis, global climate change, escalating violence and high-tech wars, all point out the destruction brought on by the greed of excessive materialism.

In Kandinsky’s time the vast majority of museum goers and art lovers could only understand art that represented reality.  And even though modern and post-modern art have opened us to new ways of seeing, the gate-keepers of the art world currently have very little room for art with spiritual content.

But today, there is a great awakening, a re-membering of our soul’s connection; more and more people from all walks of life are responding to the spiritual in art.  As an artist I take these words of Schumann to heart. “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts- such is the duty of the artist.”

— Kandinsky on Cezanne – “He painted these things as he painted human beings, because he was endowed with the gift of divining the inner life in everything.”

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