in Experiment
No Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.


in Experiment


  • 1. Editors' note: The exacting task of organizing and transcribing the many scattered sec- tions of the KAG materials relating to On the Spiritual in Art [0 dukhovnom v iskusstve] was undertaken by Irina Menchova. Her calligraphic expertise, efficiency, and patience are much appreciated. Unless indicated otherwise, all footnotes are Kandinsky's. 2. Editors' note: Although the heading "B. Painting" appears later in this text, the opening typescript does not carry the heading "A. General" which figures in the other editions of On the Spiritual in Art. However, it can be assumed that the omission was a casual oversight inasmuch as the four sections of the conventional "Part A" are in place and follow the established se- quence.

  • 3.Editors' note: KAG contains five manuscript pages written by Kandinsky in ink that he meant to insert "on printed page 2" (according to his own instruction at the top of the first page). Since "printed page 2" is missing in the Soviet proofs, it is impossible to know the exact point of insertion, although between the end of the Preface and the beginning of the Introduction would seem to be the logical context. In addition to these four pages, 850910-46 also contains a loose page, numbered "la" and carrying Kandinsky's instruction "insert after the first para- graph," which has, therefore, been duly inserted after "and philosophy," even though the refer- ence to the primitive seems to be more relevant to the third paragraph.

  • 4. Editors'note: In the Soviet proofs Kandinsky crossed out or modified certain passages, sentences, and individual words. These interventions are indicated within square brackets in the translation here and below. Munich refers to the original ]912 edition of Uber das geistige in der Kunst and to the 1914 English translation; Trudy to the 1914 Russian version and to the 1980 English translation. See "Reconstructing the Spiritual" above.

  • 5. A few, lonesome exceptions do not destroy this desperate and fateful picture. For the most part these exceptions are artists with the same "I'art pour \'art" credo. They serve a higher ideal that, in general, is nothing less than the aimless destruction of their own art. Outer beauty is one of the elements that create a spiritual atmosphere. But while possessing a positive aspect (be- ' cause Beautiful=Good), this element suffers from the deficiencies of a talent that has still to be used in full (talent in the evangelical sense).

  • 6. In their intrinsic meaning "today" and "tomorrow" resemble the Biblical "days" of Crea- tion. . 7. Weber, composer of Der FreischÜtz, said of this (i.e., of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony): "Well, the exuberance of this genius has attained the non plus ultra. Beethoven is at last quite , ready for the madhouse." The Abbe Stadler, when he first heard the 'knocks of fate' at that very tense moment, i.e., at the beginning of the first part, shouted to his neighbor: 'It's all "E", "E" and nothing else. Of course, there's no talent here, he couldn't think up anything better.,"' (Au- gust Gbllejich: Beethoven [from the series, Die Musik published by R. Strauss, p. 51 J).

  • 8.Editors'note: Pp. 27-28, which would have been the first pages of "III. The Turning- Point," are missing in the Soviet proofs. However, KAG contains a separate typewritten frag- ment [850910-45], entitled "The Tuming-Point," absent in MunichlTrudy, with which, pre- ' sumably, Kandinsky wished to replace the two pages that he himself may have withdrawn. The typescript then continues into the manuscript 850910-47. This assumption has been followed in ' the sequence reestablished here so that from "The spiritual triangle" until "indefeasible" the text is new, returning to the familiar argument immediately thereafter.

  • 9. In art this is the same principle as that of absolute uselessness. Voluntarily, but cleverly, art opted for this so as to have an escape route from the oppressive hand of utilitarianism to the self-sufficient value of the medium. In turn, this enabled art to replace an alien "literary" content with a purely artistic one - which is a moment of enormous historical importance. This marked the beginning of the revolution in art that was way ahead of the social one and in this the keen eye has also recognized the root of the new spirituality. However, even this principle, born in an era of pure Materialist thinking, still appears to be the opinion of a purely Materialist observer. Hence the teaching of the self-sufficient value of form and material and hence the misunder- standing of the essence of artistic content. 10. Editors' note: The first ten lines (crossed out) on the first page of the manuscript return in the typescript, i.e., from "with the same lightning speed" to "indefeasible."

  • 11. ln applying the artist's yardstick we see that an outer and radical difference is often ac- companied by an inner and indivisible likeness. That is why genres of art that maybe diametri- cally opposed (such as the realistic and the abstract) can be very similar to each other in cause and goal. See the addendum, "On the Question of Form." Editors' note: The addendum is miss- , ing in KAG, unless the reference is to the pedagogical statement called "The Essence of Form and the Formal Element in Painting" (translation published below). See also note 23. 12. Editor's note: A reference to the Belgian sociologist and statistician, Adolphe Quetelet ( 1796-I 876).

  • Y 13.Editors' node: Chapter 7 ("Theory") is missing in the KAG materials. 14. Editor's note: The words that follow until "and see" are handwritten at the end of 850910-56, p. 30, after which pp. 31-32 are missing; p. 33 begins with the new paragraph "The Theosophical theory....." (as far as "what is now") and continues with the second paragraph "In any case...." (as far as "offers help"), both of which, however, are crossed out, including the , footnote reference to Blavatsky's book. The clean text resumes with the paragraph "When relig- ion...." All these paragraphs are basically the same as in MunichlTrudy. 15. H. P. Blavatsky: Der Schlussel der �'Heosophie (Leipzig: Max Altmann, 1907). This book first appeared in English in London in 1889. Editors' note: The footnote is crossed out.

  • 16. Almost the whole of Russian literature led by the incomparable genius of Dostoevsky is a mirror wherein the reader sees the murk of the chasm and the despair of yesterday. We find the most tangible form of real life, airless and stifling, in Chekhov. The clairvoyant Alfred Kubin, half Slav, half Austrian, belongs to the West European artists in this group. One is dragged by an irresistible force into the terrifying realm of the harsh void. This force streams forth from Kubin's drawings, just as it does from his novel Die Andere Seite (Munich: Georg Muller, 1909). 17. When several of Maeterlinck's plays were performed in St. Petersburg under his own di- rection, at one of the rehearsals he had a piece of canvas hung up to represent a missing tower. He did not think it important to have a carefully imitated piece of scenery prepared. Instead, he a4ted just as children would - the greatest fantasists of all time, who in their games make a horse out of a stick, or pretend that paper crows are whole regiments of cavalry, with a fold in the pa- per sufficing to turn a cavalry officer into a horse (Kilgelgen, Erinnerangen eines alten Man- nes). This tendency to arouse the imagination of the audience plays a considerable part in to- day's theatre. The Russian stage in particular has done much work and made a great deal of pro- . gress in this field, which for the theater qf the future will provide a necessary transition from the material to the spiritual. 18. Editors' note: P. 35 of 850910-56 is missing, but, presumably, the text would have been the same as in Munich, i.e., from "Maeterlinck's principal means" as far as "the word tree."

  • 19. Editors' note: At this point (middle of p. 36 in 850910-56) the Russian departs abruptly from MunichlTrudy, returning to the familiar text with the paragraph beginning "The power of the word." 20. These lines were written in 1910. Since then we have had "transrational" poetry and many attempts at non.objective poetry. Unfortunately, the limitations of this short book do not ' give me the opportunity to dwell upon these extremely interesting phenomena. Editors' note: This handwritten footnote has been superimposed by Kandinsky.

  • 21. This is clearly apparent when one compares the works of Maeterlinck with those of Poe. And this is yet another example of the progress of artistic means away from the material toward the abstract. 22. Many experiments have shown that this kind of spiritual atmosphere accompanies not just heroes, but every individual. Sensitive people cannot, for example, remain in a room with another person who is spiritually antagonistic to them, even if they know nothing of his pres- ence. [Editors' note: The following passage, written in Kandinsky's hand, has been inserted: "A certain Swedish artist once told me that every Lapp family has its own motif which unites the family members whenever they appear at different celebrations. Every essence has its own inner sound." Kandinsky describes the same episode in note x of the 1918 version of his "On Stage Composition." See N. Avtonomova. D. Sarab'ianov, V. Turchin, V. V. Kandinsky,. Izbrannye trudy po teorii iskusstva, 2 vols. (M: Gileia, 2001), 1: 249]. :

  • 23. If I am mentioning program music here with reproof and rather negatively, I have in mind only the very awkward and, most important, inconsistent experiments which have been made hitherto or, more exactly, only those experiments of which I am aware. I would not venture to apply this condemnation to program music as a whole, which, as I predict, has yet to find its own essential, tangible, and abstract form. If an artist is to have access to all media, then any desire to limit his arsenal by taking away "realistic" methods would be illogical and contrary to the free soul. Any limitation is dictated via inner necessity and, consequently, any limitation can only be temporary. Similarly, only time opens up new prospects and grants new media to new assignments. It would be stupid and pathetic to prescribe laws and try to bend a force that will submit neither to our dimension, nor to our course of study. Our time is one of the Great Demar- cation of the real from the abstract and of the flowering of the abstract. But when the new "real- istics" - transformed and enriched by new media and by a viewpoint that remains hidden from us - furnish their flower and their fruit, maybe there will resonate such a chord (Abstract-Real) that it will be a new celestial revelation. But that will be a pure diachord in contrast to the im- pure confusion of both forms that we can still see today, even though it is dying. On the inner equality of abstraction and realistics see my article "On the Question of Form" appended here- with. Editors' note: See note 11. 24. In speaking of such things 1 am relying exclusively on the experiences of my own inner impression and not on formal principles in which I am not at all well versed. 25. From which the Munich revolutionary, R. Strauss, suffers incomparably more, whereas with Skriabin the deficiency is often convincing. Above all, Skriabin's strength, like his gift of form, is inexhaustible; it is a truly volcanic, inner creative power that sometimes even makes this defect essential. I am not speaking here of the impeccable crystallization of many of his compositions, which places them at an extraordinarily high level of accomplishment.

  • 26. Die Musik [Vienna], Vol. 10, No. 2 (1909), p. 104. Subsequently, the article appeared in the Harmonielehre (Munich: Universal Edition, 1912). See my [Russian] translation of the arti- cle in V. A. Izdebsky's catalog of the II Salon ["Parallcli v oktavakh I kvintakh" in V. Izdebsky, ed.: Salon 2 (Odessa: Odesskie novosti, 1910), pp. 16-18]. 27. Editors' note: The next four paragraphs (as far as "Impressionist aspirations....") do not appears in previous editions of On the Spiritual..28. Editor's; note: Here and especially in the section on the language of colors below, Kand- insky uses both the word kraska (painted color or color as a chemical substance, pigment) and tsvet (spectral color; color in its outward effect). As a rule, in the translation here Kandinsky's choice of kraska and tsvet has been rendered respectively as "paint" and "color." Sometimes, . however, the translation of kraska as "paint" is inadequate and misleading, in which cases it has been rendered as "color" and signaled with "lkl," i.e., "color[k]." See note 38. 29. At this juncture I am forced to limit myself to this indication which is too schematic and not very accurate.

  • 30. See, for example, Paul Signac, De Delacroix au Neo-Impressionisme. [Editors' note: A Russian translation - Ot Evgeniia Delakroa k neo-irnpressionizmu - by Ivan Dudin was pub- lished by Knebel', Moscow, in 1913]. 31. I often have to use the expressions "material" and "non-material" and to speak of recip- rocal conditions that have to be designated as "more or less" material, and so on. But isn't everything matter? Isn't everything spirit? Are not the differences that we have made between matter and spirit perhaps only different degrees of mere matter or mere spirit? An idea - which in positive science is designated as a product of the spirit - is only matter that can be perceived not by vulgar, but by. refined, feelings. Whatever cannot be touched by the physical hand - is ' that spirit? I would ask only that we not erect sharp boundaries and remember that we are forced to be schematic.

  • 32. Quite clearly, I am pointing to just one aspect of Cézanne's worldview, whence advance many paths that sometimes seem to run off in all directions quire hopelessly. Editors' note: The handwritten footnote has been inserted. 33. See his article in Kunst und Kiinstler, Vol. 8 (1909). I remember that a Russian transla- tion appeared in Zolotoe runo (M) [A. Matiss (Henri Matisse), "Zametki kbudozbnika,'l No. 6 (1909), pp. iv-x; reproductions on pp. 3-14, 17]

  • 34. The fear of losing material visibility is dangerous from a certain point of viev - it hin- ders forward movement. He who does not go forwards comes back. So before our very eyes what is happening in French painting is a return to a greater resonance materially. Editors' note: The handwritten note has been inserted, the last word of which is written perpendicularly in the mar- gin.

  • 35. The differences are, like the differences in all spheres of this world, to be understood as relative. In a certain sense music can avoid the duration of time (for example, a musical compo- sition lives in our memory and like a painting, i.e., simultaneously with all its existing parts), while painting can make use of it (the elements of the painting, skillfully concealed, yet still substantial, may - because of certain devices - enter the viewer's field of vision only after the fact, and so on, facts which relate to the sphere of "painterly counterpoint"). 36. These lines were written in 1908 and the German edition has continued to demonstrate that they cause misunderstanding. As far as the media is concerned, I have been accused of iden- tifying music and painting as one and the same and that in my paintings I try to transpose music on to the canvas. Only a superficial reading of these lines could explain such misunderstandings. I do not feel obliged to enter into an analysis of the psychological effect of individual musical elements, but I do feel bound to dwell upon the main points of the analysis of the individual painterly elements: the attentive reader will easily deduce the correct conclusions.

  • 37. On the value of Realist form see the footnote above as well as the discussion about this at the end of the book.

  • . 38. I feel that it is more correct to speak - almost universally - of paint and not color, since the concept of paint possesses [the connotation of] material consistency as well as of abstract , color - which is precisely the way in which the artist operates with it. Editors' note: See note 28. 39. Dr. med. Freudenberg, "Spaltung der Personlichkeit," lJbersinnliche Welt, No. 2 (1908), - pp. 64-65. Hearing colors is also discussed (p. 65) in which connection the author notes that ta- bles of comparison do not constitute laws of general application. ,

  • 40. Much theoretical and also practical work has already been done on this subject. People are also concerned with the possibility of constructing a system of counterpoint for painting in terms of these many-sided similarities (e.g., the physical vibrations of air and light). On the ' other hand, there have been successful attempts in practice to impress a tune upon unmusical children with the help of color (e.g., or at least by means ofJlowers). A. Zakhar'ina-Unkovskaia

  • has been working on this subject for many years, and has constructed a special method of "trans- lating the colors of nature into music, of painting the sounds of nature, of seeing .sounds in color ahd hearing colors musically." This method has been used for many years in the school run by its inventor, and has been recognized as useful by the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. On the other hand, Skriabin has constructed empirically a parallel table of equivalent tones in color and mu- sic, which very closely resembles Unkovskaia's more physical table. Skriabin has applied the Principle to his Prometheus (see the table reproduced in the weekly Muzyka [Moscow], No. 9 [)0n]). 41..Editors note: The word "of drawing" (risunka) has been written in to replace the printed "of forms" (form) while "of color" (tsveta) has been written in to replace the printed "of paints" (krasok). See notes 28 and 38.

  • 42. Signac, De Delacroix au Neo-Impressionisme. Editor's note: See note 30. 43. Editors' note: "Kraskoi" is the original word in the proof, but Kandinsky has crossed it out and replaced it with "Tsvetom" which he has then crossed out and replaced with "Ris- unkom." . 44. Editors' note: "Formoi" is the original word in the proof, but Kandinsky has crossed it out and replaced it with "Risunkom" which he has hen crossed out and replaced with "Tsve- tom." i 45. A very similar result is produced in the exampic of the tree, which will be adduced be- low, in which, however, the material element of the representation occupies more space.

  • I 46. The direction, e.g., a triangle, is pointing, viz. movement, also plays a significant role in editors' note: rest of sentence inserted by hand] construction. This question should he�exam- ined as being one of the basic principles of drawn composition.

  • 47. This demarcation occurs both on the material plane of the canvas and on ideal (illusory) planes - something that is attained, incidentally, by utilizing the space between viewer and painting as well as the space beyond the painting - a common concept in painting. 48. If a form acts indifferently or, as we are wont to say, "doesn't speak to me," this should not be understood literally. There is no form in the world that says nothing. It's just that its speech does not always reach the soul - and precisely when what has been spoken ["is in itself indifferent or, more exactly" crossed out] is applied to the wrong place. [footnote continues with one-page, unpaginated typescript 850910-48, KAG Folder 5]. If a Frenchman, who did not know Russian, were to join the conversation of some Russians who did not know French, then the re- sult would be an incorrect conversation. However, this does not mean that either of the lan- guages is devoid of meaning. Which is why the form that has been applied wrongly "doesn't speak to me" in this case, simply because it has been deposited on to an alien plane. A form may also be indifferent whenever it is redundant. Any such form will be an indifferent and dead sup- plement like the aimless words that through a bad habit might enter a conversation mechanically such as "you know," "get it," "and so on," "and so forth," "they say," "Hi." This is really typical of Russians (something that Chekhov noted brilliantly) and is a particular instance of a form be- ing misapplied. 49. Editors' note: Apart from the long manuscript paginated 65-107 (see "Reconstructing the Spiritual"), KAG also contains two lose sheets, paginated "1" and "2" and bearing the title (in pencil) "Construction" that seem to be part of the corpus of On the Spiritual ion Art. Although the latter does not have a section called "Construction," the references to the basic elements, the triangle, and the colors yellow and blue on the floating sheets indicate a proximity to this part of ' the book and they have been inserted here with the understanding that, ultimately, they may not belong.

  • 50.Editors' note: The end of the manuscript coincides with "by and large must affect every man" in Munich. Until the paragraph beginning "Ultimately, this growth and the gradual pre- dominance of the abstract is a natural process," Kandinsky's manuscript, written in ink, follows , the basic format of Munich/Trudy. Cardinal deviations and discrepancies are indicated within brackets. 51. Since the external part of a form has no other goal beyond expressing the inner content, then true form should be exhaustive in its expressivity. We should bear in mind, however, that

  • expressivity should in no way be obtrusive: sometimes form can be expressive when muted. Form may sometimes reveal the necessary most expressively by not going to the very limit, but by a gesture, merely showing the path that leads to external expression. This brief remark could give rise to an entire chapter about muted expression or restrained expressivity, but the space limitations of what is already a condensed book make this impossible, even though the question of expression is one of the radical and most important issues of art. The significance of this question is so great that long ago the arts should have been renamed "expressive" instead of "visual" and it is precisely the era now upon us that is making such a categorical demand. 52. These lines were first written in 1910 and, as it were, served as a theoretical prediction of the schematically experimental trend in Russian painting known as Suprematism. 53. In advanping along the path towards materiality, sometimes art has quite lost the abstract element and, in crossing over exclusively to the representation of "reality" or "real life," has lim- ited itself to depicting the object (the "figurative arts"). In this way, art lost the benefit of the form wherein its soul was contained and ceased being a self-sufficient world. Instead it became merely the reflection of another sphere of life, only aware of a life reflected and devoid of origi- nality. I think that the Materialist, Realist art of the nineteenth century can serve as the most graphic illustration of this state of art. See the addendum on this. Evidently, mankind had never lost the feeling of spirituality to such an extent as in the nineteenth century for which the preced- ing, eighteenth century prepared the ground. Religion was turned upside down; morality lost its inner criterion after becoming perniciously utilitarian and science and art set off for the impasse in which they have arrived in the twentieth century. Editors' nole: The addendum (on Realism?) is missing in KAG, unless it is the commentary that Kandinsky had inserted as a footnote (now part of note 55).

  • 54. Abstracted forms are those borrowed from reality and changed into forms that seem to have lost their connection with reality. The abstraction of form was supposed to have been - and did become - the transitional stage between real and abstract forms (so called "Cubism") and the bridge whereover art crossed to pure form. 55. The essential element of "idealization" lay in the attempt to beautify organic form, to make it ideal, often resulting in the schematic, whereby the personal, inner sound became muted. `'Stylization," arising more out of Impressionism, had as its principal aim not the "beautifica- tion" of organic form, but its powerful characterization by the omission of extemal details. Thus, the sound that arose in this case was of a highly personal nature, but giving undue emphasis to the external. The future handling and transformation of organic form has as its aim the laying bare of the inner resonance. The organic form no longer serves in this case as the direct object, but is merely one element in that divine language which is couched in human terms, because this language becomes comprehensible only when it is heard from man. [From here until end of footnote not in MunichlTrudy] So art will touch on the extreme limits (mentioned above) of the real and the abstract and will reveal the previously unseen breadth and unprecedented fullness of expression. The old delimiting laws of art will dissolve silently, the most remote points of the borders will touch and the great chain which hitherto seemed incapable for forming the great circle, will close. Abstract art has been bom in front of us and is growing with a mighty strength whatever the impediments erected by the life of today. Perhaps somewhere a new Realism has already been bom, for what is great is born in silence. But this new Realism will not be the Ma- terialist Realism whither art has turned more than once in a vain attempt to touch upon the fur- thest point of the first border: we can still remember that the last time that Materialist Realism assumed its finest form was with the Russian movement called peredvizhnichestvb [socially committed artists of the 1860s-80s such as Vasilii Perov and n'ia Repin]. But the new Realism will approach what is real from the other end: it will seek to convey not outer form for outer goals, but outer form for the expression of the inner life. This path will witness the great integration of various spiritual spheres, because art will be joined by new companions - art and

  • philosophy - as it pursues the common goal. We already have enough evidence to assert that these branches of the spiritual world are not something isolated from art and are not something almost hostile, as it used to seem. Science and philosophy will cease to be delimited by the outer and will begin lip investigate the outer for the inner. The spiritual turning-point that we are ex- periencing will render the theoretically impossible - feasible, predictable, and inevitable. 56. A cogent example of objective composition is the bathing women by C6zanne, - a com- position in triangular form (the mystical triangle that passes through all eras of all peoples in all the arts). This, its soulless academic application, had been abandoned, but was reincarnated by Cezanne to gain an emphatic, purely painterly and compositional use. But this triangle is not an external means employed to bring about the harmonization of the group of women, but is itself the clearly expressed artistic aim. Here, geometrical form becomes at the same time a means of painterly composition: the center of gravity rests on the purely artistic aspiration to include the particular resonance of abstract form in the composition. For this reason, Cezanne quite rightly alters the proportions of the human body: not only does the whole figure strive toward the apex of the triangle, but even the individual parts of the body are themselves driven more and more ' strongly upward from below, as if by an inner whirlwind, being subordinate to the common meaning of the triangle and its inner content.

  • 57. Editors' nore: While continuing to follow the basic argument of MunichlTrudy, the ac- tual prose and composition of the manuscript often differ. Henceforth (until the reference to Goethe and the thorough-bass), Kandinsky often digresses, omits sentences, rearranges para- graphs, and adds new words and entire sentences.

  • 58. One of the latest passing forms of art in which the organic is pushed into the very back- ground and, fragmented into separate bits of "nature" cut up and summoned to create "art" in particular combinations is Cubism. In spite of its natural transience, Cubism has taken its tem- p6ral necessity to be a constant law of art. 59. It is very symptomatic that the first Expressionists (a German term for the followers of Matisse), prompted by Cezanne, have chosen to stay with the results that presented the abstract part of their form as an essential supplement in the sense of freshness, saturation, vividness, and primitiveness of drawing and tone. The Cubists, on the other hand, in following Picasso, are al- ways introducing musical instruments into their forms: so that painting and music draw much closer together, painterly form aspires towards musicality and tries to reveal its inner resonance. At the same time musicians are especially concerned with the painterliness of their compositions and speak constantly of the condition of color.

  • 60. The indifferent resonance of the object - which the Expressionists justify - simply dem- onstrates the perception of the very moment at which the object has become redundant amidst the means of expression as a whole. The assertion - that this indifference demonstrates just how well developed this theory is - actually demonstrates the opposite, for the theory is too weak to shake off the unessential. 61. So why we strive to live in "nice" conditions or desire to create an "appropriate" ambi- ence for ourselves or at home becomes clear. It is also clear why any "ambience" bears the clear imprint of our inner structure - which seems to be a curious phenomenon. A human being cre- ates an ambience which does not stunt inner growth, but which provides the most authentic en- vironment for that growth. Hence, once again the gradual [several words missing] that shows clearly that the inner growth of this person has ceased.

  • 62. The history of music provides us with a similar example; the parallel forms which have held sway "abroad" even with the discovery of more complex combinations have returned in contemporary music to enjoy an especially expressive force in combination with'other forms. 63. At first glance, therefore, it is clear that all forms created in bygone eras and the works of art that advance within them and through them as well as the multifarious works of today should · be recognized as being correct inasmuch as they satisfy the demands of the potential harmony between form and content.

  • 64. What is conventionally called the movement of forms. For example, a triangle with its apex upwards generates a more serene, motionless, and stable resonance than the same triangle placed obliquely on the surface. On the simple resonance of an isolated form and on the complex resonance depending upon its color on the surface see below. , 65. The artist's right to change the proportions of the human face and body and to "distort" nature deliberately and as a whole has received a lot of discussion in its time. This kind of po- lemic ceases when the issue is transferred to a more artistic terrain: To what extent can^a form produce an exposed or darkened inner sound in debatable cases?

  • 66. Hence in all periods the perennial recourse to the art of the past. Hence the era of the Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelites, and our contemporary Primitivists (the strongest examples ' being Gauguin and Picasso, followed by weaker epigones who try to integrate the form of a by- gone content with the form of a content that is still in need of its materialization).

  • 67. This explains - and not without foundation - the prevalent view, long inured, of the gen- ius as someone who creates not for the present, but for the future - for future epochs that, even- tually, will create the atmosphere essential to understanding the genius. The two "discoveries" of El Creco and Breughel in recent times are clear examples [sentence illegible]. 68. Likewise, only with time is the nature of each of the three elements revealed. A contem- . porary [observer] can easily take the element of the eternal for the element of the individual and vice versa. Similarly, it is wrong to interchange the meanings of all three elements.

  • 69. By the word "mystical" I mean the latent or super-rational principle, which seeks its ex- . pression in the material forms of art. In, content these material forms are always abstract. This content is super-rational, i.e., it cannot be fathomed or defined by reason. In part and only occa- . sionally in full, is it reflected in the emotional experience of art [expressed in] spiritual vibra- tions and waves, whose point of departure is material form.

  • 70. Perhaps the anticipated revolution in research methods and theoretical constructs will iron out or even destroy these differences. There have been many examples of close contact be- tween science and art and any spiritual turning-point which really brings these two spiritual spheres closer together will end in a shockwave after which the two spheres will fuse into one. 71. Taking account of the achievements of Realism, the Italian Futurists have tried to intro- ' duce "dynamics" into painting. Cubism has come close to a mathematical elaboration of the plane by searching for the laws of drawn construction.

  • 72. We should not mix up the concepts of "outer" and "matter." I am using the former sim- ply instead of the expression "outer necessity" which can never transcend the boundaries of ac- cepted and traditional "beauty." "Inner necessity" will have no truck with these boundaries and, therefore, can create what beforehand is designated as "ugly." But "ugliness" is a conditional concept and the outer consequence of an embodied inner necessity that once upon a time was operative, a. consequence that is long destined to lead a phantasmal existence. In the past any- thing that was not linked to a certain kind of inner necessity (then operative) was called ugly, Aereas whatever stood alongside was beautiful. Which was quite justifiable: everything elicited to life by inner necessity is beautiful by the fact of its having been elicited. Inevitably. it will be recognized as such sooner or later. . 73. Editors' note: At this point the manuscript breaks off without indication of a continua- tion and the extensive discussion of color properties (from "Thus we need not become involved" to "elements of linear-pictorial composition") and the three diagrammatic tables in Munich are missing in the KAG materials. However, it is very unlikely that Kandinsky intended to exclude these important components (or revisions thereof) from the Soviet edition and it can be assumed that at some point they were misplaced and lost.

  • 74. An interesting example is supplied by so called "immoral" works of art. Either they are quite incapable of eliciting an emotional vibration (and, therefore, according to our definition, they are not artistic) or, if they do possess albeit a tiny degree of genuine form, they can elicit an ' emotional vibration. In this case, they are "good." If, however, apart from this emotional vibra- tion, they produce purely physical vibrations and of an inferior kind (as we tend to call them), ' this does not mean that we should regard the work negatively, but, rather, he who perceives it in a base manner. ••■■..

  • 75. This freedom, unlimited and full, must be based on inner necessity (in common parlance: honesty). This is a principle of both art and life. It is, so to speak, the great sword that! the su- perman wields in his struggle with the bourgeoisie and the philistines.

  • 76.vonderinnerenSchbnheit (Diisseldorf and Leipzig: K. Robert Langewiesche Verlag, I [n.d.]), p. 187.


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 13 13 0
Full Text Views 17 17 2
PDF Downloads 2 2 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0