Vasily Vasilyevich Kandinsky was born in 1866 in Moscow, Russia. Kandinsky spent his early childhood in Odessa, where his parents played the piano and the zither and Kandinsky himself learned the piano and cello at an early age.

He received a classical education at the Univeristy of Moscow. In 1886, he enrolled at the University of Moscow where he studied law and economics. He lectured at the Moscow Faculty of Law and was a successful teacher who also wrote extensively on spirituality.

After visiting Paris in 1895 and being exposed to French paintings, his interest in art was so much that he left his law professorship career in his thirties and went to Munich to study study life-drawing, sketching and anatomy, regarded then as basic for an artistic education. At that time, Munich was a very active center for experimental art.

It was not long before his talent took him to explore his own ideas of painting - "I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could..." He was considered to be the founder of abstract art, his work was exhibited throughout Europe from 1903 onwards, and often caused controversy among the public, the art critics, and his contemporaries.

Around 1910, Kandinsky moved gradually toward eliminating all representational objects in his work. Kandinsky wanted his art to be as nonobjective as music since he was fascinated by music's emotional power. Kandinsky once said Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.

 The influence of music in Kandinsky paintings was so great that he named his paintings Improvisations, Impressions, and   
 Compositions. Kandinsky felt that painting, like music, should be a form of personal expression, not merely a device for   
 storytelling. He wanted the viewer to feel things that couldn’t be described in words. The artist wanted to give “purely 
 spiritual meaning” to this paintings and do away with any resemblance to the real world.

In 1922 Kandinsky began teaching at the famed Bauhaus art school of Germany. There he had a strong influence on many of his students and peers. His unrelenting quest for new forms carried him to the very extremes of geometric abstraction which have provided us with an amazing collection of abstract art, though his work remained nonobjective. Kandinsky continued painting almost until his death in June, 1944. 

IMPROVISION 31 (SEA BATTLE) – Think of nonobjective art as when we look at a cloud that sometimes seems to look like a familiar shape most of the times the clouds don’t look like anything in particular but are so beatiful with their puffy shapes or sunlight going through them.

Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle) is a nonobjective work of art because there are no objects depicted in it. The soft washes of color blur together, and the beautiful, bold colors seem to explode violently. It is evident that colors held personal meaning for Kandinsky. He considered yellow to be sharp and blue to be soft.

The artist has made several black shapes and calligraphic lines that contrast the patches of color. These lines suggest the activity of combat. The artist’s intent was not to portray actual ships; rather he wanted to depict a feeling of action and turbulence. Our eyes move rapidly over the picture as they follow the bursts of color.


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