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Concerning the Spiritual in Art

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  38,246 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 57 pages
Published June 1st 1977 by Dover Publications (first published 1912)
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Luís Blue Coltrane
A wonderful essay both plain and in his writing of a philosophical and very strong reflexive reach. What are works of art, if not a genuine internal cry artists? In that sense they also speak to the audience, in many ways; color or form in painting, for example. It is interesting to compare these about Kandinsky in his works; personally I found that it brought to light a significant his paintings. Here he tries to restore its credentials to painting and the arts in general, reminding that they m ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Ridgely rated it it was ok
What saves this book is superlative phrase-turning and humor, intended or otherwise. If you've ever been tempted to bronze your subjective aesthetic and mount it in the museum between philosophy and science, this will be there to remind you how nearly impossible it is to pull off. Kandinsky couldn't do it and neither can you. I mean he sets forth to launch a theory of color analogized to harmonics, but what really comes through is an abiding disdain for yellow, coupled with a love letter to blue ...more
Jul 25, 2016 Lotz rated it liked it
Shelves: artsy-fartsy
Theory is the lamp which sheds light on the petrified ideas of yesterday and of the more distant past.

The first time I saw a painting by Kandinsky was in the Guggenheim Museum. Back then, I really didn’t have much appreciation for visual art, least of all abstract paintings. Nevertheless, I remember being intrigued, and finally fascinated by his work. The way he was able to select forms reminiscent of, but not dependent on, real-life objects delighted my eye. Later, I saw a special exhibition
Jan 22, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it
I hit my artistic peak with my rendering of my uncle’s Conan the Barbarian upper arm tattoo (complete with blood splatter) when I was eight. Truly appreciating art always seemed like the province of finer souls. A secret protected on par with gypsy divination and Shamrock shakes. I guess I always thought art was beyond words. Kandinsky, in his brief book, proves otherwise. Incredibly lucid and articulate, Kandinsky leads the reader to move past an intellectual appreciation of art:
The spectator i
This was worth reading. Some of the language was a little flowery so I will probably read it again at some point. It makes some interesting points. I wish the art was in color and not black and white since he talks so much about the significance of color especially red. It was a fast read and interesting so it was worth my time to read this one.
Reza Gharibi
Oct 22, 2015 Reza Gharibi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کاندینسکی یک نقاش و نظریهپرداز هنری روس بود. از آنجا که او نخستین نقاشیهای مدرن اِنتزاعی را خلق کردهاست، یکی از معروفترین و اثرگذارترین هنرمندان سده بیستم بهشمار میآید. (ويكيپديا)

كتاب دو بخشه، بخش اول راجع به خود هنر و هنرمند ها صحبت ميكنه، بخش دوم يكم تخصصي وارد هنر نقاشي ميشه.
بخش اول جذابيتش برام بيشتر بود
مخصوصا سر فصل "جنش سه ضلعي" رو خيلي دوس داشتم.
كسايي كه به نقاشي علاقه مندن بخونن كتاب خوبيه
Dec 14, 2015 Hesam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
به طور خلاصه، تاثیر نیاز درونی و توسعه هنر، جلوه بیانی همواره در حال پیشرفت جاودانگی و ذهنیت بر حسب دوره های زمانی و عینیت است
چون ذهنیت همواره در حال تبادل بیان عینی امروز با بیان عینی آینده است، هرگونه گسترش بیشتر آزادی در استفاده از فرم بیرونی همانند فضیلی بزرگ مورد استقبال قرار می گیرد. در حال حاضر می توانیم بگوییم هنرمند تنها مادامی که در تماس با طبیعت باقی بماند می تواند از هر فرمی که بخواهد استفاده کند. ولی این محدودیت، مانند همه پیشینیانش، کاملا موقتی است. از نقطه نظر نیاز درونی نباید هیچ
Laura Cowan
Mar 06, 2013 Laura Cowan rated it it was amazing
Stunning in its foresight. This book soothed some of the frustration I have developed with people's inability to understand what I am trying to do with my writing, not necessarily due to its failure to convey its inner purpose (though of course there is some of that) but rather due to some people's inability to think for themselves and get past buzzwords to really explore the nature of things with me. Kandinsky really lays out the structure of spiritual development and the ways that artists stan ...more
Oct 15, 2010 Ellis rated it really liked it
Picked this short treatise up used for cheap. Kandinsky has a lot of very interesting ideas about the relation of art and music and poetry, with some discussion of social status/interpersonal relationships (just a dash). He is a modernist through and through. The introduction is enough to get you excited to read it and I just love his description about what art is and ought to be. Dense and could be a better translation, I think. Takes some concentration to understand it all and follow the metap ...more
Jul 17, 2012 David rated it really liked it
A professional artist/teacher friend of mine gave me a copy of Kandinsky's book at a recent workshop she was leading. Consider the long period of the 20th Century during which Kandinsky practiced what he preached as a "Spiritual Revolution" in art. Spiritual Revolution was a popular theme throughout the century. A Baha'i pamphlet with that title was published in the 1970's. Being an activist artist in that revolution now is as important as ever.
I'm finally getting around to reading Wassily Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art. In it, the artist explains his plans for the ascent of spiritually fulfilling and expressive art that surpasses mere replication of natural form. This is not to say that Kandinsky is in favor of pure abstraction. He faults cubism as too intellectual and spiritually lacking, as opposed to inspired abstractions.
I most enjoyed his breakdown of color theory, setting antitheses of white and black (obvi), yellow
Michael Franklin
Feb 02, 2008 Michael Franklin rated it liked it
kandinsky's respondeo ut the world of art, in his time, to the past, and for the future of art is widely considered one of the greatest documents on art by an artist. sure, i'll accept that. however, i believe this is more of an assault on the condition of the human spirit than a treatise on the state of art.

kandinsky reiterates, many times, his disgust for the broad acceptance of and reverence towards "stagnate art". as an artist himself, he is quite aware of the vast differences between what t
Aug 25, 2012 Bill rated it liked it
In some ways I enjoyed the two rather lengthy introductions to the book (not by Kandinsky himself) -- which put his career and ideas in a historical perspective -- more than the book itself. I read the following review from an Amazon reader. I agree with most of it, and he brings out some of the more important points Kandinsky offers in his book. I especially like this insight from the reviewer: "His spirituality is not an incarnational one, where the Spirit interpenetrates and quickens matter, ...more
Nov 09, 2011 Ben rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book. Kandinsky's ideas on art and its ultimate goal are nothing short of inspirational.
No matter what area of art you enjoy, whether it be music, painting or even writing; this book is completely relevant. He is an artist who is completely "in tune" with all aspects of creativity. His way of explaining, though quite poetic and grandoise at times, is very clear to read and understand. He's not just a great painter, but a captivating writer who really has a way with words. Th
P. Timothy
Jun 23, 2009 P. Timothy rated it really liked it
I read this in anticipation of possibly leading a class on Spirituality and Art...and as a primer of sorts on the early thoughts about the connection between Spirituality and the Arts, especially connected with Modern art into abstraction. Some of his thoughts are brilliian and prescient; some really are parallel to Dewey, James and the like philosophers, along with Dr. Albert Barnes, and some of it comes off as purely bunkish guesses...but that is the issue with ground-breaking writing and thou ...more
Jan 06, 2016 Flor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es una belleza la forma en que Kandinsky nos describe dos elementos básicos del arte como lo son el color y la forma. La facilidad que tiene para definir los colores y las emociones que producen en el espectador es algo de no creer.
Un libro bastante fácil de leer, y cortito que deja las cosas claras.
Hermoso desde donde se lo vea, y no hace falta tener mucho conocimiento del arte para disfrutarlo.
Muy recomendable.
Sep 06, 2015 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Come for the soul, stay for the synesthesia.
Sep 30, 2008 Ana rated it really liked it
I was not aware of the intrinsic relation between form and color. Plus, I found completely stimulating (just by reading) his description of contrasting colors, their antagonisms and synthesis. Apparently while yellow warmly moves, blue is coldly inert, the former expressing a bodily experience, the latter spiritual. An the "theory" goes on. I would never thought of green as stationary, yet he made me wonder...

I won't get into his argument about the artist as king. I will just retain the "languag
Beka Sukhitashvili
Mar 24, 2016 Beka Sukhitashvili rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, russian
ძალიან საინტერესო ნაშრომია, შთაბეჭდილებებით სავსე ვარ.

"ღია ლურჯი ფლეიტას ჰგავს, მუქი ჩელოს, კიდევ უფრო მუქი კონტრაბასის არაჩვეულებრივ ჟღერას; უფრო ღრმა, საზეიმო ფორმაში ლურჯის ჟღერადობა ორღანისას შეიძლება შევადაროთ".

"ხელოვნებაში თეორია არასდროს უსწრებს პრაქტიკას, არამედ პირიქით".

"არანაირი "უნდა" არ არსებობს ხელოვნებაში, რომელიც მუდამ თავისუფალია. ხელოვნება გაურბის "უნდას"-ს, როგორც დღე გაურბის ღამეს".

მოკლედ, ესეც წიგნის ჩემი მიმოხილვა:

Jun 03, 2012 Cameron rated it liked it
A powerful, lucid manifesto by Kandinsky, the famous Russian Expressionist, calling for the artist to proceed inward to cultivate the abstract expressions of the inner spirit and away from material representation. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that in addition to his obvious mastery as a painter, Kandinsky was also an accomplished and logical writer.

"The artist must have something to say, for mastery over form is not his goal but rather the adapting of form to its inner meaning"
Mar 28, 2012 Pam added it
Shelves: art
I absolutely LOVE art. I like it a bit challenging not just the normal wildly popular stuff, BUT I just can't read about it. I try, but most of the writing seems overly analytical, not visual or emotional like the subject. I have tried to read this book...I have actually read this book, but it doesn't seem to sink in... I guess I will just keep loving art and trying to read about it.
Fran Aguirre
Nov 13, 2014 Fran Aguirre rated it liked it
Mi relación con este libro es de amor y odio. Es tedioso en un comienzo, las primeras 70 páginas se dan vuelta en lo mismo y siento que faltó poder de síntesis. Pero desde la página 71 la tesis del autor se aclara y empiezo a disfrutar el texto y a coincidir con él en varios aspectos.

¿De qué trata?

Postula la abstracción en el arte, dejar de lado el naturalismo tan propio del impresionismo.

Incentiva la espiritualidad y no la materialidad artística.

Llama al artista a buscar el significado de su
Apryl Anderson
Feb 28, 2012 Apryl Anderson rated it really liked it
Kandinsky's 'Movement of the Triangle' was precisely the visual I needed to understand this process of the collective conscience going forward, yet circling eternal revelations. Also, I agree with his discussion of the related arts, and I'm surprised that he didn't mention the 'Musica universalis'. As for the color theory, I need to spend some time with that...
C. Vau
Jan 10, 2010 C. Vau rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
No es un mal libro, tiene puntos de vista bastante interesantes y relevantes incluso en nuestros tiempos. Le pongo 3 estrellas porque la edición no me pareció la mejor. Aunque principalmente la utilicé con fines informativos y no creo que la vaya a referenciar.
May 23, 2009 Sian rated it it was amazing
Craaaaazy shit, but also totally brilliant.

Kandinsky had this condition called synesthesia where he could like, feel and hear colors and all his senses were mixed up. While it is a serious medical condition, it makes for some incredible writing.
Jun 08, 2010 Christina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes but was disappointed in how boring and un-moving this book was. I have never been a huge Kandinsky fan, but as an art lover, appreciate his work. I keep moving from chapter to chapter, waiting to be inspired... but nothing. Boo!
Jan 10, 2016 Kerry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russia, art
Kandinsky's background as a lawyer is indicative of his organized mind as well as his desire to lay out his ideas concretely and with purpose. Tracing the development of his art, so can the development of his ideas be seen to evolve. That he attempted to put into writing his artistic intentions takes some of the mystery from his process--and indeed, Kandinsky did not want his art to be a mystery. Uniting the viewer with the work of art was the artist's goal, and the artist was supposed to use a ...more
Dec 03, 2014 Sirenalu rated it really liked it
This book has only 80 pages, so you wont get a headache about when you can finish it. The structure is also quite clear: the first part is about the triangle theory of human spirit development, which serves the purpose of the author in his argument about abstract art. The second part introduces the color and form theory, which is also my favorite part of the two. For him, the inner spirit of the art, or the spiritual atmosphere an artist creates is more important than the material he uses.

A rea
Apr 24, 2008 Roger added it
Recommends it for: artists
Kandinski's path from object-oriented art to the abstract is one which he begins to see an underlying spirituality to the shapes and color beneath the hills, buildings, and humanity he has captured on his canvas. In time the background is brought forward and fused into the foreground. He seeks a higher plain to effect the onlooker. His desire is to "send light into the darkness of men's hearts" quote by Schumann.

It is not "art for art's sake". What drives one to create great art should not merel
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Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was a Russian painter, and Art theorist. He is credited with painting the first modern abstract works.
Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa. He enrolled at the University of Moscow and chose to study law and economics. Quite successful in his profession—he was offered a professorship (chair of Roman Law) at the University of Dorpat—he started painti
More about Wassily Kandinsky...

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“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.” 93 likes
“That is beautiful which is produced by the inner need, which springs from the soul.” 18 likes
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