FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 192 “Film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? PART 3, The Renaissance” Featured artist is Wassily Kandinsky

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How Shall We Then Live?—Francis Schaeffer

Episode Three: The Renaissance
Key Terms

  1. “Cultural transformation” always begins with the thinkers (philosophers and theologians). They develop ideas which influence the artists who depict the new ideas. These ideas are then picked by the politicians, lawyers, doctors, and wealthy businessmen. It then passes on to the educators who influence the students. The students return home and influence the common people. Cultures are thus usually transformed from the top down. The only exception was the Reformation which in many situations went from the bottom (i.e. the common man) to the top.
  2. “Syncretism” is the attempt to combine different worldviews into one system. Many have tried to combine Christianity with pagan worldviews in order to make Christianity “relevant” or “modern.”
  3. Examples:
  • Parmenides + Heraclitus = Plato
  • Gnosticism + Christianity = Arianism and Modalism
  • Plato + Christianity = Augustine
  • Aristotle + Christianity = Aquinas
  • Leibnez + Hume = Kant
  • Kant + Christianity = Barth
  • Existentialism + Christianity = Kierkegarrd
  • Marxism + Christianity = Liberation Theology
  • Neo-Kantianism + Christianity = Dooyeweerdianism
  • Greek humanism + Christianity = Molinism
  • Process philosophy + Christianity = “Open View of God”

D. The flow of philosophic ideas has a certain pattern. This pattern can be traced in the
history of ideas.

  • Plato: mind
  • matter
  • Aristotle: essence
  • form
  • Aquinas: grace
  • nature
  • Roman sacred
  • Catholicism secular
  • Rousseau: freedom
  • nature
  • Kant; noumenal
  • phenomenal
  • Barth faith
  • facts
  • modern: non-rational
  • rational
  • religion
  • politics
  • religion
  • science

 

HowShouldWeThenLive Episode 4

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Image result for Wassily Kandinsky

Featured artist today is Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VIII, 1923 

Image result for Wassily Kandinsky

Image result for Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VII (1913)

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky[a] (/kænˈdɪnski/; 16 December [O.S. 4 December] 1866 – 13 December 1944) was a Russian painter and art theorist.

He is credited with painting one of the first recognised purely abstract works.[1] Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa, where he graduated at Grekov Odessa Art school. He enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics. Successful in his profession—he was offered a professorship (chair of Roman Law) at the University of Dorpat—Kandinsky began painting studies (life-drawing, sketching and anatomy) at the age of 30.

In 1896, Kandinsky settled in Munich, studying first at Anton Ažbe‘s private school and then at the Academy of Fine Arts. He returned to Moscow in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I. Kandinsky was unsympathetic to the official theories on art in Communist Moscow, and returned to Germany in 1920. There, he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He then moved to France, where he lived for the rest of his life, becoming a French citizen in 1939 and producing some of his most prominent art. He died at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944.

Artistic periods[edit]

Kandinsky’s creation of abstract work followed a long period of development and maturation of intense thought based on his artistic experiences. He called this devotion to inner beauty, fervor of spirit, and spiritual desire inner necessity; it was a central aspect of his art.

Youth and inspiration (1866–1896)[edit]

Colorful abstract painting with buildings and a church in the background

Early-period work, Munich-Schwabing with the Church of St. Ursula (1908)

Kandinsky was born in Moscow, the son of Lidia Ticheeva and Vasily Silvestrovich Kandinsky, a tea merchant.[2][3] His family comprised German aristocrats, and from his maternal side he also had Tatar origins, to which he ascribed the “slight Mongolian trait in his features”.[4] Kandinsky learned from a variety of sources while in Moscow. He studied many fields while in school, including law and economics. Later in life, he would recall being fascinated and stimulated by colour as a child. His fascination with colour symbolism and psychology continued as he grew. In 1889, he was part of an ethnographic research group which travelled to the Vologda region north of Moscow. In Looks on the Past, he relates that the houses and churches were decorated with such shimmering colours that upon entering them, he felt that he was moving into a painting. This experience, and his study of the region’s folk art (particularly the use of bright colours on a dark background), was reflected in much of his early work. A few years later he first likened painting to composing music in the manner for which he would become noted, writing, “Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul”.[5] Kandinsky was also the uncle of Russian-French philosopher Alexandre Kojève (1902-1968).

In 1896, at the age of 30, Kandinsky gave up a promising career teaching law and economics to enroll in the Munich Academy where his teachers would eventually include Franz von Stuck.[6] He was not immediately granted admission, and began learning art on his own. That same year, before leaving Moscow, he saw an exhibit of paintings by Monet. He was particularly taken with the impressionistic style of Haystacks; this, to him, had a powerful sense of colour almost independent of the objects themselves. Later, he would write about this experience:

That it was a haystack the catalogue informed me. I could not recognize it. This non-recognition was painful to me. I considered that the painter had no right to paint indistinctly. I dully felt that the object of the painting was missing. And I noticed with surprise and confusion that the picture not only gripped me, but impressed itself ineradicably on my memory. Painting took on a fairy-tale power and splendour.[7]

— Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky was similarly influenced during this period by Richard Wagner‘s Lohengrin which, he felt, pushed the limits of music and melody beyond standard lyricism.[citation needed]He was also spiritually influenced by Madame Blavatsky (1831–1891), the best-known exponent of theosophy. Theosophical theory postulates that creation is a geometrical progression, beginning with a single point. The creative aspect of the form is expressed by a descending series of circles, triangles and squares. Kandinsky’s book Concerning the Spiritual In Art (1910) and Point and Line to Plane (1926) echoed this theosophical tenet. Illustrations by John Varley in Thought Forms (1901) influenced him visually.[8]

Metamorphosis[edit]

In the summer of 1902, Kandinsky invited Gabriele Münter to join him at his summer painting classes just south of Munich in the Alps. She accepted, and their relationship became more personal than professional. Art school, usually considered difficult, was easy for Kandinsky. It was during this time that he began to emerge as an art theorist as well as a painter. The number of his existing paintings increased in the beginning of the 20th century; much remains of the landscapes and towns he painted, using broad swaths of colour and recognizable forms. For the most part, however, Kandinsky’s paintings did not feature any human figures; an exception is Sunday, Old Russia (1904), in which Kandinsky recreates a highly colourful (and fanciful) view of peasants and nobles in front of the walls of a town. Riding Couple(1907) depicts a man on horseback, holding a woman with tenderness and care as they ride past a Russian town with luminous walls across a river. The horse is muted while the leaves in the trees, the town, and the reflections in the river glisten with spots of colour and brightness. This work demonstrates the influence of pointillism in the way the depth of field is collapsed into a flat, luminescent surface. Fauvism is also apparent in these early works. Colours are used to express Kandinsky’s experience of subject matter, not to describe objective nature.

Perhaps the most important of his paintings from the first decade of the 1900s was The Blue Rider (1903), which shows a small cloaked figure on a speeding horse rushing through a rocky meadow. The rider’s cloak is medium blue, which casts a darker-blue shadow. In the foreground are more amorphous blue shadows, the counterparts of the fall trees in the background. The blue rider in the painting is prominent (but not clearly defined), and the horse has an unnatural gait (which Kandinsky must have known). Some art historians believe[citation needed] that a second figure (perhaps a child) is being held by the rider, although this may be another shadow from the solitary rider. This intentional disjunction, allowing viewers to participate in the creation of the artwork, became an increasingly conscious technique used by Kandinsky in subsequent years; it culminated in the abstract works of the 1911–1914 period. In The Blue Rider, Kandinsky shows the rider more as a series of colours than in specific detail. This painting is not exceptional in that regard when compared with contemporary painters, but it shows the direction Kandinsky would take only a few years later.

From 1906 to 1908 Kandinsky spent a great deal of time travelling across Europe (he was an associate of the Blue Rose symbolist group of Moscow), until he settled in the small Bavarian town of Murnau. In 1908 he bought a copy of Thought-Forms by Annie Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater. In 1909 he joined the Theosophical Society. The Blue Mountain (1908–1909) was painted at this time, demonstrating his trend toward abstraction. A mountain of blue is flanked by two broad trees, one yellow and one red. A procession, with three riders and several others, crosses at the bottom. The faces, clothing, and saddles of the riders are each a single color, and neither they nor the walking figures display any real detail. The flat planes and the contours also are indicative of Fauvist influence. The broad use of color in The Blue Mountain illustrates Kandinsky’s inclination toward an art in which color is presented independently of form, and which each color is given equal attention. The composition is more planar; the painting is divided into four sections: the sky, the red tree, the yellow tree and the blue mountain with the three riders.

Blue Rider Period (1911–1914)[edit]

Wassily Kandinsky, Improvisation 27 (Garden of Love II), 1912, oil on canvas, 47 3/8 x 55 1/4 in. (120.3 x 140.3 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show.

Kandinsky’s paintings from this period are large, expressive coloured masses evaluated independently from forms and lines; these serve no longer to delimit them, but overlap freely to form paintings of extraordinary force. Music was important to the birth of abstract art, since music is abstract by nature—it does not try to represent the exterior world, but expresses in an immediate way the inner feelings of the soul. Kandinsky sometimes used musical terms to identify his works; he called his most spontaneous paintings “improvisations” and described more elaborate works as “compositions.”

In addition to painting, Kandinsky was an art theorist; his influence on the history of Western art stems perhaps more from his theoretical works than from his paintings. He helped found the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (Munich New Artists’ Association), becoming its president in 1909. However, the group could not integrate the radical approach of Kandinsky (and others) with conventional artistic concepts and the group dissolved in late 1911. Kandinsky then formed a new group, the Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) with like-minded artists such as August MackeFranz MarcAlbert Bloch, and Gabriele Münter. The group released an almanac (The Blue Rider Almanac) and held two exhibits. More of each were planned, but the outbreak of World War I in 1914 ended these plans and sent Kandinsky back to Russia via Switzerland and Sweden.

His writing in The Blue Rider Almanac and the treatise “On the Spiritual In Art” (which was released in 1910) were both a defence and promotion of abstract art and an affirmation that all forms of art were equally capable of reaching a level of spirituality. He believed that colour could be used in a painting as something autonomous, apart from the visual description of an object or other form.

These ideas had an almost-immediate international impact, particularly in the English-speaking world.[9] As early as 1912, On the Spiritual In Art was reviewed by Michael Sadleir in the London-based Art News.[10] Interest in Kandinsky grew apace when Sadleir published an English translation of On the Spiritual In Art in 1914. Extracts from the book were published that year in Percy Wyndham Lewis‘s periodical Blast, and Alfred Orage‘s weekly cultural newspaper The New Age. Kandinsky had received some notice earlier in Britain, however; in 1910, he participated in the Allied Artists’ Exhibition (organised by Frank Rutter) at London’s Royal Albert Hall. This resulted in his work being singled out for praise in a review of that show by the artist Spencer Frederick Gore in The Art News.[11]

Sadleir’s interest in Kandinsky also led to Kandinsky’s first works entering a British art collection; Sadleir’s father, Michael Sadler, acquired several woodprints and the abstract painting Fragment for Composition VII in 1913 following a visit by father and son to meet Kandinsky in Munich that year. These works were displayed in Leeds, either in the University or the premises of the Leeds Arts Club, between 1913 and 1923.[12]

Return to Russia (1914–1921)[edit]

The sun melts all of Moscow down to a single spot that, like a mad tuba, starts all of the heart and all of the soul vibrating. But no, this uniformity of red is not the most beautiful hour. It is only the final chord of a symphony that takes every colour to the zenith of life that, like the fortissimo of a great orchestra, is both compelled and allowed by Moscow to ring out.

— Wassily Kandinsky[13]

From 1918 to 1921, Kandinsky dealt with the cultural politics of Russia and collaborated in art education and museum reform. He painted little during this period, but devoted his time to artistic teaching, with a program based on form and colour analysis; he also helped organize the Institute of Artistic Culture in Moscow. In 1916 he met Nina Andreievskaya (she died in 1980), whom he married the following year. His spiritual, expressionistic view of art was ultimately rejected by the radical members of the Institute as too individualistic and bourgeois. In 1921, Kandinsky was invited to go to Germany to attend the Bauhaus of Weimar by its founder, architect Walter Gropius.

Bauhaus (1922–1933)[edit]

Kandinsky taught the basic design class for beginners and the course on advanced theory at the Bauhaus; he also conducted painting classes and a workshop in which he augmented his colour theory with new elements of form psychology. The development of his works on forms study, particularly on points and line forms, led to the publication of his second theoretical book (Point and Line to Plane) in 1926. His examinations of the effects of forces on straight lines, leading to the contrasting tones of curved and angled lines, coincided with the research of Gestalt psychologists, whose work was also discussed at the Bauhaus.[14] Geometrical elements took on increasing importance in both his teaching and painting—particularly the circle, half-circle, the angle, straight lines and curves. This period was intensely productive. This freedom is characterised in his works by the treatment of planes rich in colours and gradations—as in Yellow – red – blue (1925), where Kandinsky illustrates his distance from the constructivism and suprematism movements influential at the time.

The two-meter-wide Yellow – red – blue (1925) of several main forms: a vertical yellow rectangle, an inclined red cross and a large dark blue circle; a multitude of straight (or sinuous) black lines, circular arcs, monochromatic circles and scattered, coloured checkerboards contribute to its delicate complexity. This simple visual identification of forms and the main coloured masses present on the canvas is only a first approach to the inner reality of the work, whose appreciation necessitates deeper observation—not only of forms and colours involved in the painting but their relationship, their absolute and relative positions on the canvas and their harmony.

Kandinsky was one of Die Blaue Vier (Blue Four), formed in 1923 with KleeFeininger and von Jawlensky, which lectured and exhibited in the United States in 1924. Due to right-wing hostility, the Bauhaus left Weimar and settled in Dessau in 1925. Following a Nazi smear campaign the Bauhaus left Dessau in 1932 for Berlin, until its dissolution in July 1933. Kandinsky then left Germany, settling in Paris.

Great Synthesis (1934–1944)[edit]

Living in an apartment in Paris, Kandinsky created his work in a living-room studio. Biomorphic forms with supple, non-geometric outlines appear in his paintings—forms which suggest microscopic organisms but express the artist’s inner life. Kandinsky used original colour compositions, evoking Slavic popular art. He also occasionally mixed sand with paint to give a granular, rustic texture to his paintings.

This period corresponds to a synthesis of Kandinsky’s previous work in which he used all elements, enriching them. In 1936 and 1939 he painted his two last major compositions, the type of elaborate canvases he had not produced for many years. Composition IX has highly contrasted, powerful diagonals whose central form gives the impression of an embryo in the womb. Small squares of colours and coloured bands stand out against the black background of Composition X as star fragments (or filaments), while enigmatic hieroglyphs with pastel tones cover a large maroon mass which seems to float in the upper-left corner of the canvas. In Kandinsky’s work some characteristics are obvious, while certain touches are more discreet and veiled; they reveal themselves only progressively to those who deepen their connection with his work.[15] He intended his forms (which he subtly harmonized and placed) to resonate with the observer’s soul.

Kandinsky’s conception of art[edit]

The artist as prophet[edit]

Large, colorful abstract painting

Composition VII—according to Kandinsky, the most complex piece he ever painted (1913)

Writing that “music is the ultimate teacher,”[16] Kandinsky embarked upon the first seven of his ten Compositions. The first three survive only in black-and-white photographs taken by fellow artist and friend Gabriele Münter. While studies, sketches, and improvisations exist (particularly of Composition II), a Nazi raid on the Bauhaus in the 1930s resulted in the confiscation of Kandinsky’s first three Compositions. They were displayed in the State-sponsored exhibit “Degenerate Art“, and then destroyed (along with works by Paul KleeFranz Marc and other modern artists).

Fascinated by Christian eschatology and the perception of a coming New Age,[17] a common theme among Kandinsky’s first seven Compositions is the apocalypse (the end of the world as we know it). Writing of the “artist as prophet” in his book, Concerning the Spiritual In Art, Kandinsky created paintings in the years immediately preceding World War I showing a coming cataclysm which would alter individual and social reality. Having a fervent belief in Orthodox Christianity,[18] Kandinsky drew upon the biblical stories of Noah’s ArkJonah and the whale, Christ’s resurrection, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation, Russian folktales and the common mythological experiences of death and rebirth. Never attempting to picture any one of these stories as a narrative, he used their veiled imagery as symbols of the archetypes of death–rebirth and destruction–creation he felt were imminent in the pre-World War I world.

As he stated in Concerning the Spiritual In Art (see below), Kandinsky felt that an authentic artist creating art from “an internal necessity” inhabits the tip of an upward-moving pyramid. This progressing pyramid is penetrating and proceeding into the future. What was odd or inconceivable yesterday is commonplace today; what is avant garde today (and understood only by the few) is common knowledge tomorrow. The modern artist–prophet stands alone at the apex of the pyramid, making new discoveries and ushering in tomorrow’s reality. Kandinsky was aware of recent scientific developments and the advances of modern artists who had contributed to radically new ways of seeing and experiencing the world.

Composition IV and later paintings are primarily concerned with evoking a spiritual resonance in viewer and artist. As in his painting of the apocalypse by water (Composition VI), Kandinsky puts the viewer in the situation of experiencing these epic myths by translating them into contemporary terms (with a sense of desperation, flurry, urgency, and confusion). This spiritual communion of viewer-painting-artist/prophet may be described within the limits of words and images.

Artistic and spiritual theorist[edit]

Rectangular, multicolored abstract painting

Composition VI (1913)

As the Der Blaue Reiter Almanac essays and theorizing with composer Arnold Schoenberg indicate, Kandinsky also expressed the communion between artist and viewer as being available to both the senses and the mind (synesthesia). Hearing tones and chords as he painted, Kandinsky theorized that (for example), yellow is the colour of middle C on a brassy trumpet; black is the colour of closure, and the end of things; and that combinations of colours produce vibrational frequencies, akin to chords played on a piano. Kandinsky also developed a theory of geometric figures and their relationships—claiming, for example, that the circle is the most peaceful shape and represents the human soul. These theories are explained in Point and Line to Plane (see below).

Kandinsky’s legendary stage design for a performance of Mussorgsky‘s “Pictures at an Exhibition” illustrates his synaesthetic concept of a universal correspondence of forms, colors and musical sounds.[19] In 1928 in the theater of Dessau Wassily Kandinsky realized the stage production of “Pictures at an Exhibition”. In 2015 the original designs of the stage elements were animated with modern video technology and synchronized with the music according to the preparatory notes of Kandinsky and the director’s script of Felix Klee.

During the studies Kandinsky made in preparation for Composition IV, he became exhausted while working on a painting and went for a walk. While he was out, Gabriele Münter tidied his studio and inadvertently turned his canvas on its side. Upon returning and seeing the canvas (but not yet recognizing it) Kandinsky fell to his knees and wept, saying it was the most beautiful painting he had ever seen. He had been liberated from attachment to an object. As when he first viewed Monet’s Haystacks, the experience would change his life.[citation needed]

In another episode with Münter during the Bavarian abstract expressionist years, Kandinsky was working on his Composition VI. From nearly six months of study and preparation, he had intended the work to evoke a flood, baptism, destruction, and rebirth simultaneously. After outlining the work on a mural-sized wood panel, he became blocked and could not go on. Münter told him that he was trapped in his intellect and not reaching the true subject of the picture. She suggested he simply repeat the word uberflut (“deluge” or “flood”) and focus on its sound rather than its meaning. Repeating this word like a mantra, Kandinsky painted and completed the monumental work in a three-day span.[citation needed]

Theoretical writings on art[edit]

Kandinsky’s analyses on forms and colours result not from simple, arbitrary idea-associations but from the painter’s inner experience. He spent years creating abstract, sensorially rich paintings, working with form and colour, tirelessly observing his own paintings and those of other artists, noting their effects on his sense of colour.[20] This subjective experience is something that anyone can do—not scientific, objective observations but inner, subjective ones, what French philosopher Michel Henry calls “absolute subjectivity” or the “absolute phenomenological life“.[21]

Concerning the spiritual in art[edit]

Published in 1912, Kandinsky’s text, Du Spirituel dans l’art, defines three types of painting; impressionsimprovisations and compositions. While impressions are based on an external reality that serves as a starting point, improvisations and compositions depict images emergent from the unconscious, though composition is developed from a more formal point of view.[22] Kandinsky compares the spiritual life of humanity to a pyramid—the artist has a mission to lead others to the pinnacle with his work. The point of the pyramid is those few, great artists. It is a spiritual pyramid, advancing and ascending slowly even if it sometimes appears immobile. During decadent periods, the soul sinks to the bottom of the pyramid; humanity searches only for external success, ignoring spiritual forces.[23]

Colours on the painter’s palette evoke a double effect: a purely physical effect on the eye which is charmed by the beauty of colours, similar to the joyful impression when we eat a delicacy. This effect can be much deeper, however, causing a vibration of the soul or an “inner resonance”—a spiritual effect in which the colour touches the soul itself.[24]

“Inner necessity” is, for Kandinsky, the principle of art and the foundation of forms and the harmony of colours. He defines it as the principle of efficient contact of the form with the human soul.[25] Every form is the delimitation of a surface by another one; it possesses an inner content, the effect it produces on one who looks at it attentively.[26] This inner necessity is the right of the artist to unlimited freedom, but this freedom becomes licence if it is not founded on such a necessity.[27] Art is born from the inner necessity of the artist in an enigmatic, mystical way through which it acquires an autonomous life; it becomes an independent subject, animated by a spiritual breath.[28]

The obvious properties we can see when we look at an isolated colour and let it act alone, on one side is the warmth or coldness of the colour tone, and on the other side is the clarity or obscurity of that tone.[29]Warmth is a tendency towards yellow, and coldness a tendency towards blue; yellow and blue form the first great, dynamic contrast.[30] Yellow has an eccentric movement and blue a concentric movement; a yellow surface seems to move closer to us, while a blue surface seems to move away.[31] Yellow is a typically terrestrial colour, whose violence can be painful and aggressive.[32] Blue is a celestial colour, evoking a deep calm.[33] The combination of blue and yellow yields total immobility and calm, which is green.[34]

Clarity is a tendency towards white, and obscurity is a tendency towards black. White and black form the second great contrast, which is static.[31] White is a deep, absolute silence, full of possibility.[35] Black is nothingness without possibility, an eternal silence without hope, and corresponds with death. Any other colour resonates strongly on its neighbors.[36] The mixing of white with black leads to gray, which possesses no active force and whose tonality is near that of green. Gray corresponds to immobility without hope; it tends to despair when it becomes dark, regaining little hope when it lightens.[37]

Red is a warm colour, lively and agitated; it is forceful, a movement in itself.[37] Mixed with black it becomes brown, a hard colour.[38] Mixed with yellow, it gains in warmth and becomes orange, which imparts an irradiating movement on its surroundings.[39] When red is mixed with blue it moves away from man to become purple, which is a cool red.[40] Red and green form the third great contrast, and orange and purple the fourth.[41]

Point and Line to Plane[edit]

Points, 1920, 110.3 × 91.8 cm, Ohara Museum of Art

In his writings, Kandinsky analyzed the geometrical elements which make up every painting—the point and the line. He called the physical support and the material surface on which the artist draws or paints the basic plane, or BP.[42] He did not analyze them objectively, but from the point of view of their inner effect on the observer.[43]

A point is a small bit of colour put by the artist on the canvas. It is neither a geometric point nor a mathematical abstraction; it is extension, form and colour. This form can be a square, a triangle, a circle, a star or something more complex. The point is the most concise form but, according to its placement on the basic plane, it will take a different tonality. It can be isolated or resonate with other points or lines.[44]

A line is the product of a force which has been applied in a given direction: the force exerted on the pencil or paintbrush by the artist. The produced linear forms may be of several types: a straight line, which results from a unique force applied in a single direction; an angular line, resulting from the alternation of two forces in different directions, or a curved (or wave-like) line, produced by the effect of two forces acting simultaneously. A plane may be obtained by condensation (from a line rotated around one of its ends).[45]

The subjective effect produced by a line depends on its orientation: a horizontal line corresponds with the ground on which man rests and moves; it possesses a dark and cold affective tonality similar to black or blue. A vertical line corresponds with height, and offers no support; it possesses a luminous, warm tonality close to white and yellow. A diagonal possesses a more-or-less warm (or cold) tonality, according to its inclination toward the horizontal or the vertical.[46]

A force which deploys itself, without obstacle, as the one which produces a straight line corresponds with lyricism; several forces which confront (or annoy) each other form a drama.[47] The angle formed by the angular line also has an inner sonority which is warm and close to yellow for an acute angle (a triangle), cold and similar to blue for an obtuse angle (a circle), and similar to red for a right angle (a square).[48]

The basic plane is, in general, rectangular or square. therefore, it is composed of horizontal and vertical lines which delimit it and define it as an autonomous entity which supports the painting, communicating its affective tonality. This tonality is determined by the relative importance of horizontal and vertical lines: the horizontals giving a calm, cold tonality to the basic plane while the verticals impart a calm, warm tonality.[49] The artist intuits the inner effect of the canvas format and dimensions, which he chooses according to the tonality he wants to give to his work. Kandinsky considered the basic plane a living being, which the artist “fertilizes” and feels “breathing”.[50]

Each part of the basic plane possesses an affective colouration; this influences the tonality of the pictorial elements which will be drawn on it, and contributes to the richness of the composition resulting from their juxtaposition on the canvas. The above of the basic plane corresponds with looseness and to lightness, while the below evokes condensation and heaviness. The painter’s job is to listen and know these effects to produce paintings which are not just the effect of a random process, but the fruit of authentic work and the result of an effort towards inner beauty.[51]

This book contains many photographic examples and drawing from Kandinsky’s works which offer the demonstration of its theoretical observations, and which allow the reader to reproduce in him the inner obviousness provided that he takes the time to look at those pictures with care, that he let them acting on its own sensibility and that he let vibrating the sensible and spiritual strings of his soul.[52]

Miscellaneous information[edit]

Art market[edit]

In 2012, Christie’s auctioned Kandinsky’s Studie für Improvisation 8 (Study for Improvisation 8), a 1909 view of a man wielding a broadsword in a rainbow-hued village, for $23 million. The painting had been on loan to the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, since 1960 and was sold to a European collector by the Volkart Foundation, the charitable arm of the Swiss commodities trading firm Volkart Brothers. Before this sale, the artist’s last record was set in 1990 when Sotheby’s sold his Fugue (1914) for $20.9 million.[53] On November 16, 2016 Christie’s auctioned Kandinsky’s Rigide et courbé (rigid and bent), a large 1935 abstract painting, for $23.3 million, a new record for Kandinsky.[54][55] Solomon R. Guggenheim originally purchased the painting directly from the artist in 1936, but it was not exhibited after 1949, and was then sold at auction to a private collector in 1964 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.[55]

In popular culture[edit]

The 1990 play Six Degrees of Separation refers to a “double-sided Kandinsky” painting.[56] No such painting is known to exist; in the 1993 film version of the play, the double-sided painting is portrayed as having Kandinsky’s 1913 painting Black Lines on one side and his 1926 painting Several Circles on the other side.[57]

The 1999 film Double Jeopardy makes numerous references to Kandinsky, and a piece of his, “Sketch”, figures prominently in the plotline. The protagonist, Elizabeth Parsons (Ashley Judd), utilizes the registry entry for the work to track down her husband under his new alias. Two variations of the almanac cover of “Blue Rider” are also featured in the film.[58]

In 2014, Google commemorated Kandinsky’s 148th birthday by featuring a Google Doodle based on his abstract paintings.[59][60]

A picture-book biography entitled The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art was published in 2014. Its illustrations by Mary GrandPre earned it a 2015 Caldecott Honor.

His grandson was musicology professor and writer Aleksey Ivanovich Kandinsky (1918–2000), whose career was both focused on and centered in Russia.[61][62]

Exhibitions[edit]

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum held a major retrospective of Kandinsky’s work from 2009-2010, called Kandinsky.[63] In 2017, a selection of Kandinsky’s work is on view at the Guggenheim’s current exhibition, Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim.[64]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Note: Several sections of this article have been translated from its French version: Theoretical writings on artThe Bauhaus and The great synthesis artistic periods. For complete detailed references in French, see the original version at fr:Vassily Kandinsky

Books by Kandinsky[edit]

  • Wassily Kandinsky, M. T. Sadler (Translator), Adrian Glew (Editor). Concerning the Spiritual in Art. (New York: MFA Publications and London: Tate Publishing, 2001). 192pp. ISBN 0-87846-702-5
  • Wassily Kandinsky, M. T Sadler (Translator). Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Dover Publ. (Paperback). 80 pp. ISBN 0-486-23411-8. or: Lightning Source Inc Publ. (Paperback). ISBN 1-4191-1377-1
  • Wassily Kandinsky. Klänge. Verlag R. Piper & Co., Munich
  • Wassily Kandinsky. Point and Line to Plane. Dover Publications, New York. ISBN 0-486-23808-3
  • Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky, Complete Writings on Art. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80570-7

References in English[edit]

  • John E Bowlt and Rose-Carol Washton Long. The Life of Vasilii Kandinsky in Russian art: a study of “On the spiritual in art” by Wassily Kandinsky. (Newtonville, MA.: Oriental Research Partners, 1984). ISBN 0-89250-131-6
  • Magdalena Dabrowski. Kandinsky Compositions. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2002). ISBN 0-87070-405-2
  • Hajo Düchting. Wassily Kandinsky 1866–1944: A Revolution in Painting. (Taschen, 2000). ISBN 3-8228-5982-6
  • Hajo Düchting and O’Neill. The Avant-Garde in Russia.
  • Will Grohmann. Wassily Kandinsky. Life and Work. (New York: Harry N Abrams Inc., 1958).
  • Thomas M. Messer. Vasily Kandinsky. (New York: Harry N Abrams Inc, 1997). (Illustrated). ISBN 0-8109-1228-7.
  • Margarita Tupitsyn, Against Kandinsky (Munich: Museum Villa Stuck, 2006).
  • Michel HenrySeeing the Invisible. On Kandinsky (Continuum, 2009). ISBN 1-84706-447-7
  • Julian Lloyd Webber, “Seeing red, looking blue, feeling green”Daily Telegraph 6 July 2006.
  • Sabine Flach, “Through the Looking Gass”, in: Intellectual Birdhouse (London: Koenig Books, 2012). ISBN 978-3-86335-118-2

References in French[edit]

External links[edit]

Writing by Kandinsky
External video
 Kandinsky, Improvisation 28 (second version), 1912, Smarthistory
Paintings by Kandinsky

Helen Mirren on Vasily Kandinsky

 

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer in the episode, “The Age of Fragmentation,” Episode 8 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN  LIVE? noted:

Monet, Renoir, Camille Pissarro, SisleyDegas were following nature as it has been called in their painting they were impressionists.They painted only what their eyes brought them. But was there reality behind the light waves reaching their eyes? After 1885 Monet carried this to its conclusion and reality tended to become a dream. With impressionism the door was open for art to become the vehicle for modern thought. As reality became a dream, impressionism began to fall apart. These men Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, all great post Impressionists felt the problem, felt the loss of meaning. They set out to solve the problem, to find the way back to reality, to the absolute behind the individual things, behind the particulars, ultimately they failed.
I am not saying that these painters were always consciously painting their philosophy of life, but rather in their work as a whole their worldview was often reflected. Cezanne reduced nature to what he considered its basic geometric forms. In this he was searching for an universal which would tie all kinds of individual things in nature together, but this gave a broken fragmented appearance to his pictures.
File:Paul Cézanne 047.jpg
Les Grandes Baigneuses, 1898–1905: the triumph of Poussinesque stability and geometric balance.
________________________________
In his bathers there is much freshness, much vitality. An absolute wonder in the balance of the picture as a whole, but he portrayed not only nature but also man himself in fragmented form. 
I want to stress that I am not minimizing these men as men. To read van Gogh’s letters is to weep for the pain of this sensitive man. Nor do I minimize theirtalent as painters. Their work often has great beauty indeed. But their art did become the vehicle of modern man’s view of fractured truth and light. As philosophy had moved from unity to fragmentation so did painting. In 1912 Wassily Kandinsky
wrote an article saying that in so far as the old harmony, that is an unity of knowledge have been lost, that only two possibilities remained: extreme abstraction or extreme naturalism, both he said were equal.
File:Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.jpg
With this painting modern art was born. Picasso painted it in 1907 and called it Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It unites Cezzanne’s fragmentation with Gauguin’s concept of the noble savage using the form of the African mask which was popular with Parisian art circle of that time. In great art technique is united with worldview and the technique of fragmentation works well with the worldview of modern man. A view of a fragmented world and a fragmented man and a complete break with the art of the Renaissance which was founded on man’s humanist hopes.
Here man is made to be less than man. Humanity is lost. Speaking of a part of Picasso’s private collection of his own works David Douglas Duncan says “Of course, not one of these pictures  was actually a portrait, but his prophecy of a ruined world.”

101 Western painters you should know

A list of the Best Painters of all-time in Western Painting, the 101 most important painters of the history of western painting, from 13th century to 21st century

by G. Fernández – theartwolf.com
Although this list stems from a deep study of the painters, their contribution to Western painting, and their influence on later artists; we are aware that objectivity does not exist in Art, so we understand that most readers will not agree 100% with this list. In any case, theartwolf.com assures that this list is only intended as a tribute to painting and the painters who have made it an unforgettable Art

1. PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973) – Picasso is to Art History a giant earthquake with eternal aftermaths. With the possible exception of Michelangelo (who focused his greatest efforts in sculpture and architecture), no other artist had such ambitions at the time of placing his oeuvre in the history of art. Picasso created the avant-garde. Picasso destroyed the avant-garde. He looked back at the masters and surpassed them all. He faced the whole history of art and single-handedly redefined the tortuous relationship between work and spectator

2. GIOTTO DI BONDONE (c.1267-1337) – It has been said that Giotto was the first real painter, like Adam was the first man. We agree with the first part. Giotto continued the Byzantine style of Cimabue and other predecessors, but he earned the right to be included in gold letters in the history of painting when he added a quality unknown to date: emotion

3. LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519) – For better or for worse, Leonardo will be forever known as the author of the most famous painting of all time, the “Gioconda” or “Mona Lisa”. But he is more, much more. His humanist, almost scientific gaze, entered the art of the quattrocento and revoluted it with his sfumetto that nobody was ever able to imitate

4. PAUL CÉZANNE (1839-1906) – “Cezanne is the father of us all.” This famous quote has been attributed to both Picasso and Matisse, and certainly it does not matter who actually said it, because in either case would be appropriate. While he exhibited with the Impressionist painters, Cézanne left behind the whole group and developed a style of painting never seen so far, which opened the door for the arrival of Cubism and the rest of the vanguards of the twentieth century

5. REMBRANDT VAN RIJN (1606-1669) – The fascinating use of the light and shadows in Rembrandt’s works seem to reflect his own life, moving from fame to oblivion. Rembrandt is the great master of Dutch painting, and, along with Velázquez, the main figure of 17th century European Painting. He is, in addition, the great master of the self-portrait of all time, an artist who had never show mercy at the time of depicting himself

6. DIEGO VELÁZQUEZ (1599-1660) – Along with Rembrandt, one of the summits of Baroque painting. But unlike the Dutch artist, the Sevillan painter spent most of his life in the comfortable but rigid courtesan society. Nevertheless, Velázquez was an innovator, a “painter of atmospheres” two centuries before Turner and the Impressionists, which it is shown in his colossal ‘royal paintings’ (“Meninas”, “The Forge of Vulcan”), but also in his small and memorable sketches of the Villa Medici.

7. WASSILY KANDINSKY (1866-1944) – Although the title of “father of abstraction” has been assigned to several artists, from Picasso to Turner, few painters could claim it with as much justice as Kandinsky. Many artists have succeeded in painting emotion, but very few have changed the way we understand art. Wassily Kandinsky is one of them.

8. CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926) – The importance of Monet in the history of art is sometimes “underrated”, as Art lovers tend to see only the overwhelming beauty that emanates from his canvases, ignoring the complex technique and composition of the work (a “defect” somehow caused by Monet himself, when he declared that “I do not understand why everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love”). However, Monet’s experiments, including studies on the changes in an object caused by daylight at different times of the day; and the almost abstract quality of his “water lilies”, are clearly a prologue to the art of the twentieth century.

9. CARAVAGGIO (1571-1610) – The tough and violent Caravaggio is considered the father of Baroque painting, with his spectacular use of lights and shadows. Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro became so famous that many painters started to copy his paintings, creating the ‘Caravaggisti’ style.

10. JOSEPH MALLORD WILLIAM TURNER (1775-1851) – Turner is the best landscape painter of Western painting. Whereas he had been at his beginnings an academic painter, Turner was slowly but unstoppably evolving towards a free, atmospheric style, sometimes even outlining the abstraction, which was misunderstood and rejected by the same critics who had admired him for decades

11. JAN VAN EYCK (1390-1441) – Van Eyck is the colossal pillar on which rests the whole Flemish paintings from later centuries, the genius of accuracy, thoroughness and perspective, well above any other artist of his time, either Flemish or Italian.

12. ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528) – The real Leonardo da Vinci of Northern European Rennaisance was Albrecht Dürer, a restless and innovative genious, master of drawing and color. He is one of the first artists to represent nature without artifice, either in his painted landscapes or in his drawings of plants and animals

13. JACKSON POLLOCK (1912-1956) – The major figure of American Abstract Expressionism, Pollock created his best works, his famous drips, between 1947 and 1950. After those fascinating years, comparable to Picasso’s blue period or van Gogh’s final months in Auvers, he abandoned the drip, and his latest works are often bold, unexciting works.

14. MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI (1475-1564) – Some readers will be quite surprised to see the man who is, along with Picasso, the greatest artistic genius of all time, out of the “top ten” of this list, but the fact is that even Michelangelo defined himself as “sculptor”, and even his painted masterpiece (the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel) are often defined as ‘painted sculptures’. Nevertheless, that unforgettable masterpiece is enough to guarantee him a place of honor in the history of painting

15. PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903) – One of the most fascinating figures in the history of painting, his works moved from Impressionism (soon abandoned) to a colorful and vigorous symbolism, as can be seen in his ‘Polynesian paintings’. Matisse and Fauvism could not be understood without the works of Paul Gauguin

16. FRANCISCO DE GOYA (1746-1828) – Goya is an enigma. In the whole History of Art few figures are as complex as the artist born in Fuendetodos, Spain. Enterprising and indefinable, a painter with no rival in all his life, Goya was the painter of the Court and the painter of the people. He was a religious painter and a mystical painter. He was the author of the beauty and eroticism of the ‘Maja desnuda’ and the creator of the explicit horror of ‘The Third of May, 1808’. He was an oil painter, a fresco painter, a sketcher and an engraver. And he never stopped his metamorphosis

17. VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890) – Few names in the history of painting are now as famous as Van Gogh, despite the complete neglect he suffered in life. His works, strong and personal, are one of the greatest influences in the twentieth century painting, especially in German Expressionism

18. ÉDOUARD MANET (1832-1883) – Manet was the origin of Impressionism, a revolutionary in a time of great artistic revolutions. His (at the time) quite polemical “Olympia” or “Déjeuner sur l’Herbe” opened the way for the great figures of Impressionism

19. MARK ROTHKO (1903-1970) – The influence of Rothko in the history of painting is yet to be quantified, because the truth is that almost 40 years after his death the influence of Rothko’s large, dazzling and emotional masses of color continues to increase in many painters of the 21st century

20. HENRI MATISSE (1869-1954) – Art critics tend to regard Matisse as the greatest exponent of twentieth century painting, only surpassed by Picasso. This is an exaggeration, although the almost pure use of color in some of his works strongly influenced many of the following avant-gardes

21. RAPHAEL (1483-1520) – Equally loved and hated in different eras, no one can doubt that Raphael is one of the greatest geniuses of the Renaissance, with an excellent technique in terms of drawing and color

22. JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (1960-1988) – Basquiat is undoubtedly the most important and famous member of the “graffiti movement” that appeared in the New York scene in the early’80s, an artistic movement whose enormous influence on later painting is still to be measured

23. EDVARD MUNCH (1863-1944) – Modernist in his context, Munch could be also considered the first expressionist painter in history. Works like “The Scream” are vital to understanding the twentieth century painting.

24. TITIAN (c.1476-1576) – After the premature death of Giorgione, Titian became the leading figure of Venetian painting of his time. His use of color and his taste for mythological themes defined the main features of 16th century Venetian Art. His influence on later artists -Rubens, Velázquez…- is extremely important

25. PIET MONDRIAN (1872 -1944) – Along with Kandinsky and Malevich, Mondrian is the leading figure of early abstract painting. After emigrating to New York, Mondrian filled his abstract paintings with a fascinating emotional quality, as we can se in his series of “boogie-woogies” created in the mid-40s

26. PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA (1416-1492) – Despite being one of the most important figures of the quattrocento, the Art of Piero della Francesca has been described as “cold”, “hieratic” or even “impersonal”. But with the apparition of Berenson and the great historians of his era, like Michel Hérubel -who defended the “metaphysical dimension” of the paintings by Piero-, his precise and detailed Art finally occupied the place that it deserves in the Art history

27. PETER PAUL RUBENS (1577-1640) – Rubens was one of the most prolific painters of all time, thanks in part to the collaboration of his study. Very famous in life, he traveled around Europe to meet orders from very wealthy and important clients. His female nudes are still amazing in our days

28. ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987) – Brilliant and controversial, Warhol is the leading figure of pop-art and one of the icons of contemporary art. His silkscreen series depicting icons of the mass-media (as a reinterpretation of Monet’s series of Water lilies or the Rouen Cathedral) are one of the milestones of contemporary Art, with a huge influence in the Art of our days

29. JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983) – Like most geniuses, Miro is an unclassificable artist. His interest in the world of the unconscious, those hidden in the depths of the mind, link him with Surrealism, but with a personal style, sometimes closer to Fauvism and Expressionism. His most important works are those from the series of “Constellations”, created in the early 40s

30. TOMMASO MASACCIO (1401-1428) – Masaccio was one of the first old masters to use the laws of scientific perspective in his works . One of the greatest innovative painters of the Early Renaissance

31. MARC CHAGALL (1887-1985) – Artist of dreams and fantasies, Chagall was for all his life an immigrant fascinated by the lights and colors of the places he visited. Few names from the School of Paris of the early twentieth century have contributed so much -and with such variety of ideas- to change modern Art as this man “impressed by the light,” as he defined himself

31. GUSTAVE COURBET (1819-1877) – Leading figure of realism, and a clear precedent for the impressionists, Courbet was one of the greatest revolutionaries, both as an artist and as a social-activist, of the history of painting. Like Rembrandt and other predecessors, Courbet did not seek to create beauty, but believed that beauty is achieved when and artist represents the purest reality without artifice

33. NICOLAS POUSSIN (1594-1665) – The greatest among the great French Baroque painters, Poussin had a vital influence on French painting for many centuries. His use of color is unique among all the painters of his era

34. WILLEM DE KOONING (1904-1997) – After Pollock, the leading figure of abstract expressionism, though one of his greatest contributions was not to feel limited by the abstraction, often resorting to a heartbreaking figurative painting (his series of “Women” are the best example) with a major influence on later artists such as Francis Bacon or Lucian Freud

35. PAUL KLEE (1879-1940) – In a period of artistic revolutions and innovations, few artists were as crucial as Paul Klee. His studies of color, widely taught at the Bauhaus, are unique among all the artists of his time

36. FRANCIS BACON (1909-1992) – Maximum exponent, along with Lucian Freud, of the so-called “School of London”, Bacon’s style was totally against all canons of painting, not only in those terms related to beauty, but also against the dominance of the Abstract Expressionism of his time

37. GUSTAV KLIMT (1862-1918) – Half way between modernism and symbolism appears the figure of Gustav Klimt, who was also devoted to the industrial arts. His nearly abstract landscapes also make him a forerunner of geometric abstraction

38. EUGÈNE DELACROIX (1798-1863) – Eugène Delacroix is the French romanticism painter “par excellence” and one of the most important names in the European painting of the first half of the 19th century. His famous “Liberty leading the People”also demonstrates the capacity of Painting to become the symbol of an era.

39. PAOLO UCCELLO (1397-1475) – “Solitary, eccentric, melancholic and poor”. Giorgio Vasari described with these four words one of the most audacious geniuses of the early Florentine Renaissance, Paolo Uccello.

40. WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827) – Revolutionary and mystic, painter and poet, Blake is one of the most fascinating artists of any era. His watercolors, prints and temperas are filled with a wild imagination (almost crazyness), unique among the artists of his era

41. KAZIMIR MALEVICH (1878-1935) – Creator of Suprematism, Malevich will forever be one of the most controversial figures of the history of art among the general public, divided between those who consider him an essential renewal and those who consider that his works based on polygons of pure colors do not deserve to be considered Art

42. ANDREA MANTEGNA (1431-1506) – One of the greatest exponents of the Quattrocento, interested in the human figure, which he often represented under extreme perspectives (“The Dead Christ”)

43. JAN VERMEER (1632-1675) – Vermeer was the leading figure of the Delft School, and for sure one of the greatest landscape painters of all time. Works such as “View of the Delft” are considered almost “impressionist” due to the liveliness of his brushwork. He was also a skilled portraitist

44. EL GRECO (1541-1614) – One of the most original and fascinating artists of his era, with a very personal technique that was admired, three centuries later, by the impressionist painters

45. CASPAR DAVID FRIEDRICH (1774-1840) – Leading figure of German Romantic painting, Friedrich is still identified as the painter of landscapes of loneliness and distress, with human figures facing the terrible magnificence of nature.

46. WINSLOW HOMER (1836-1910) – The main figure of American painting of his era, Homer was a breath of fresh air for the American artistic scene, which was “stuck” in academic painting and the more romantic Hudson River School. Homer’s loose and lively brushstroke is almost impressionistic .

47. MARCEL DUCHAMP (1887-1968) – One of the major figures of Dadaism and a prototype of “total artist”, Duchamp is one of the most important and controversial figures of his era. His contribution to painting is just a small part of his huge contribution to the art world.

48. GIORGIONE (1478-1510) – Like so many other painters who died at young age, Giorgione (1477-1510) makes us wonder what place would his exquisite painting occupy in the history of Art if he had enjoyed a long existence, just like his direct artistic heir – Titian.

49. FRIDA KAHLO (1907-1954) – In recent years, Frida’s increasing fame seems to have obscured her importance in Latin American art. On September 17th, 1925, Kahlo was almost killed in a terrible bus accident. She did not died, but the violent crash had terrible sequels, breaking her spinal column, pelvis, and right leg.. After this accident, Kahlo’s self-portraits can be considered as quiet but terrible moans

50. HANS HOLBEIN THE YOUNGER (1497-1543) – After Dürer, Holbein is the greatest of the German painters of his time. The fascinating portrait of “The Ambassadors” is still considered one of the most enigmatic paintings of art history

51. EDGAR DEGAS (1834-1917) – Though Degas was not a “pure” impressionist painter, his works shared the ideals of that artistic movement. Degas paintings of young dancers or ballerinas are icons of late 19th century painting

52. FRA ANGELICO (1387-1455) – One of the great colorists from the early Renaissance. Initially trained as an illuminator, he is the author of masterpieces such as “The Annunciation” in the Prado Museum.

53. GEORGES SEURAT (1859-1891) – Georges Seurat is one of the most important post-impressionist painters, and he is considered the creator of the “pointillism”, a style of painting in which small distinct points of primary colors create the impression of a wide selection of secondary and intermediate colors.

54. JEAN-ANTOINE WATTEAU (1684-1721) – Watteau is today considered one of the pioneers of rococo. Unfortunately, he died at the height of his powers, as it is evidenced in the great portrait of “Gilles” painted in the year of his death

55. SALVADOR DALÍ (1904-1989) – “I am Surrealism!” shouted Dalí when he was expelled from the surrealist movement by André Breton. Although the quote sounds presumptuous (which was not unusual in Dalí), the fact is that Dalí’s paintings are now the most famous images of all the surrealist movement.

56. MAX ERNST (1891-1976) – Halfway between Surrealism and Dadaism appears Max Ernst, important in both movements. Ernst was a brave artistic explorer thanks in part to the support of his wife and patron, Peggy Guggenheim

57. TINTORETTO (1518-1594) – Tintoretto is the most flamboyant of all Venetian masters (not the best, such honour can only be reclaimed by Titian or Giorgione) and his remarkable oeuvre not only closed the Venetian splendour till the apparition of Canaletto and his contemporaries, but also makes him the last of the Cinquecento masters.

58. JASPER JOHNS (born 1930) – The last living legend of the early Pop Art, although he has never considered himself a “pop artist”. His most famous works are the series of “Flags” and “Targets“.

59. SANDRO BOTTICELLI (1445-1510) – “If Botticelli were alive now he would be working for Vogue”, said actor Peter Ustinov. As well as Raphael, Botticelli had been equally loved or hated in different eras, but his use of color is one of the most fascinating among all old masters.

60. DAVID HOCKNEY (born 1937) – David Hockney is one of the living myths of the Pop Art. Born in Great Britain, he moved to California, where he immediately felt identified with the light, the culture and the urban landscape of the ‘Golden State’

61. UMBERTO BOCCIONI (1882-1916) – The maximum figure of Italian Futurism, fascinated by the world of the machine, and the movement as a symbol of contemporary times.

62. JOACHIM PATINIR (1480-1524) – Much less technically gifted than other Flemish painters like Memling or van der Weyden, his contribution to the history of art is vital for the incorporation of landscape as a major element in the painting.

63. DUCCIO DA BUONINSEGNA (c.1255/60 – 1318/19) – While in Florence Giotto di Bondone was changing the history of painting, Duccio of Buoninsegna provided a breath of fresh air to the important Sienese School.

64. ROGER VAN DER WEYDEN (1399-1464) – After Van Eyck, the leading exponent of Flemish painting in the fifteenth century; a master of perspective and composition.

65. JOHN CONSTABLE (1776-1837) – John Constable (1776-1837) is, along with Turner, the great figure of English romanticism. But unlike his contemporary, he never left England, and he devoted all his time to represent the life and landscapes of his beloved England.

66. JACQUES-LOUIS DAVID (1748-1825) – David is the summit of neoclassicism, a grandiloquent artist whose compositions seem to reflect his own hectic and revolutionary life.

67. ARSHILLE GORKY (1905-1948) – Armenian-born American painter, Gorky was a surrealist painter and also one of the leaders of abstract expressionism. He was called “the Ingres of the unconscious”.

68. HIERONYMUS BOSCH (1450-1516) – An extremely religious man, all works by Bosch are basically moralizing, didactic. The artist sees in the society of his time the triumph of sin, the depravation, and all the things that have caused the fall of the human being from its angelical character; and he wants to warn his contemporaries about the terrible consequences of his impure acts.

69. PIETER BRUEGEL THE ELDER (1528-1569) – Many scholars and art critics claim to have found important similarities between the works by Hyeronimus Bosch and those by Brueghel, but the truth is that the differences between both of them are abysmal. Whereas Bosch’s fantasies are born of a deep deception and preoccupation for the human being, with a clearly moralizing message; works by Bruegel are full of irony, and even filled with a love for the rural life, which seems to anticipate the Dutch landscape paintings from the next century.

70. SIMONE MARTINI (1284-1344) – One of the great painters of the Trecento, he was a step further and helped to expand its progress, which culminated in the “International Style”.

71. Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) – Church represents the culmination of the Hudson River School: he had Cole’s love for the landscape, Asher Brown Durand’s romantic lyricism, and Albert Bierstadt’s grandiloquence, but he was braver and technically more gifted than anyone of them. Church is without any doubt one of the greatest landscape painters of all time, perhaps only surpassed by Turner and some impressionists and postimpressionists like Monet or Cézanne.

72. EDWARD HOPPER (1882-1967) – Hopper is widely known as the painter of urban loneliness. His most famous work, the fabulous “Nighthawks” (1942) has become the symbol of the solitude of the contemporary metropolis, and it is one of the icons of the 20th century Art.

73. LUCIO FONTANA (1899-1968) – Father of the “White Manifesto”, in which he stated that “Matter, colour and sound in motion are the phenomena whose simultaneous development makes up the new art”. His “Concepts Spatiales” are already icons of the art of the second half of the twentieth century.

74. FRANZ MARC (1880-1916) – After Kandinsky, the great figure of the Expressionist group “The Blue Rider” and one of the most important expressionist painters ever. He died at the height of his artistic powers, when his use of color was even anticipating the later abstraction.

75. PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR (1841-1919) – One of the key figures of Impressionism, he soon left the movement to pursue a more personal, academic painting.

76. JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER (1834-1903) – Along with Winslow Homer, the great figure of American painting of his time. Whistler was an excellent portraitist, which is shown in the fabulous portrait of his mother, considered one of the great masterpieces of American painting of all time.

77. THEODORE GÉRICAULT (1791-1824) – Key figure in romanticism, revolutionary in his life and works despite his bourgeois origins. In his masterpiece, “The raft of the Medusa”, Gericault creates a painting that we can define as “politically incorrect”, as it depicts the miseries of a large group of castaways abandoned after the shipwreck of a French naval frigate.

78. WILLIAM HOGARTH (1697-1764) – A list of the great portrait painters of all time should never miss the name of William Hogarth, whose studies and sketches could even qualify as “pre-impressionist”.

79. CAMILLE COROT (1796-1875) – One of the great figures of French realism in the 19th century and certainly one of the major influences for the impressionist painters like Monet or Renoir, thanks to his love for “plen-air” painting, emphasizing the use of light.

80. GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963) – Along with Picasso and Juan Gris, the main figure of Cubism, the most important of the avant-gardes of the 20th century Art.

81. HANS MEMLING (1435-1494) – Perhaps the most complete and “well-balanced” of all fifteenth century Flemish painters, although he was not as innovative as Van Eyck or van der Weyden.

82. GERHARD RICHTER (born 1932) – One of the most important artists of recent decades, Richter is known either for his fierce and colorful abstractions or his serene landscapes and scenes with candles.

83. AMEDEO MODIGLIANI (1884-1920) – One of the most original portraitists of the history of painting, considered as a “cursed” painter because of his wild life and early death.

84. GEORGES DE LA TOUR (1593-1652) – The influence of Caravaggio is evident in De la Tour, whose use of light and shadows is unique among the painters of the Baroque era.

85. GENTILESCHI, ARTEMISIA (1597-1654) – One of the most gifted artists of the early baroque era, she was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

86. JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET (1814-1875) – One of the main figures of the Barbizon School, author of one of the most emotive paintings of the 19th century: The “Angelus“.

87. FRANCISCO DE ZURBARÁN (1598-1664) – The closest to Caravaggio of all Spanish Baroque painters, his latest works show a mastery of chiaroscuro without parallel among any other painter of his time.

88. CIMABUE (c.1240-1302) – Although in some of his works Cimabue already represented a visible evolution of the rigid Byzantine art, his greatest contribution to painting was to discover a young talented artist named Giotto (see number 2), who changed forever the Western painting.

89. JAMES ENSOR (1860-1949) – Violent painter whose strong, almost “unfinished” works make him a precursor of Expressionism

90. RENÉ MAGRITTE (1898-1967) – One of the leading figures of surrealism, his apparently simple works are the result of a complex reflection about reality and the world of dreams

91. EL LISSITZKY (1890-1941) – One of the main exponents of Russian avant-garde painting. Influenced by Malevich, he also excelled in graphic design.

92. EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918) – Another “died too young” artist, his strong and ruthless portraits influenced the works of later artists, like Lucian freud or Francis Bacon.

93. DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI (1828-1882) – Perhaps the key figure in the pre-Raphaelite movement, Rossetti left the poetry to focus on classic painting with a style that influenced the symbolism.

94. FRANS HALS (c.1580-1666) – One of the most important portraitists ever, his lively brushwork influenced early impressionism.

95. CLAUDE LORRAIN (1600-1682) – His works were a vital influence on many landscape painters for many centuries, both in Europe (Corot, Courbet) and in America (Hudson River School).

96. ROY LICHTENSTEIN (1923-1977) – Along with Andy Warhol, the most famous figure of the American Pop-Art. His works are often related to the style of the comics, though Lichtenstein rejected that idea.

97. GEORGIA O’KEEFE (1887-1986) – A leading figure in the 20th century American Art, O’Keefe single-handedly redefined the Western American painting.

98. GUSTAVE MOREAU (1826-1898) – One of the key figures of symbolism, introverted and mysterious in life, but very free and colorful in his works.

99. GIORGIO DE CHIRICO (1888-1978) – Considered the father of metaphysical painting and a major influence on the Surrealist movement.

100. FERNAND LÉGER (1881-1955) – At first a cubist, Leger was increasingly attracted to the world of machinery and movement, creating works such as “The Discs” (1918).

101. JEAN-AUGUSTE-DOMINIQUE INGRES (1780-1867) – Ingres was the most prominent disciple of the most famous neoclassicist painter, Jacques Louis David, so he should not be considered an innovator. He was, however, a master of classic portrait.

_

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso in 1962

Portrait of Giotto, by Paolo Uccello

Portrait of Giotto, by Paolo Uccello

Self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci

Self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci

Self-portrait of Paul Cézanne

Self-portrait of Paul Cézanne

Self-portrait of Rembrandt van Rijn

Self-portrait of Rembrandt van Rijn

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky

Self-portrait of Claude Monet

Self-portrait of Claude Monet

Self-portrait of William Turner

Self-portrait of William Turner

Self-portrait of Alberto Durero

Self-portrait of Alberto Durero

Self-portrait of Paul Gauguin

Self-portrait of Paul Gauguin

Self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh

Self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh

Self-portrait of Édouard Manet

Self-portrait of Édouard Manet

Self-portrait of Rafael

Self-portrait of Rafael

Self-portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat ©Estate of Jean Michel Basquiat

Self-portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat ©Estate of Jean Michel Basquiat

"Self-portrait in hell", by Edvard Munch

“Self-portrait in hell”, by Edvard Munch

Posible self-portrait by Piero della Francesca

Posible self-portrait by Piero della Francesca

Andy Warhol in 1977

Andy Warhol in 1977

Posible self-portrait by Tomasso Masaccio

Posible self-portrait by Tomasso Masaccio

"The desperate man", self-portrait by Gustave Courbet

“The desperate man”, self-portrait by Gustave Courbet

Self-portrait by Titian

Self-portrait by Titian

Self-portrait by Paul Klee

Self-portrait by Paul Klee

Self-portrait by Francis Bacon ©Estate of Francis Bacon

Self-portrait by Francis Bacon ©Estate of Francis Bacon

Self-portrait by Kazimir Malevich

Self-portrait by Kazimir Malevich

Greco

Posible Self-portrait by El Greco

Self-portrait by Caspar David Friedrich

Self-portrait by Caspar David Friedrich

Posible Self-portrait by Giorgione

Posible Self-portrait by Giorgione

Self-portrait by Edgar Degas

Self-portrait by Edgar Degas

self-portrait by Frida Kahlo

Self-portrait by Frida Kahlo

Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí

Self-portrait by Tintoretto

Self-portrait by Tintoretto

Self-portrait by Sandro Botticelli

Self-portrait by Sandro Botticelli

Self-portrait by Umberto Boccioni

Self-portrait by Umberto Boccioni

Self-portrait by John Constable

Self-portrait by John Constable

Self-portrait by Jacques-Louis David

Self-portrait by Jacques-Louis David

Self-portrait by El Bosco

Self-portrait by El Bosco

Posible Self-portrait by Pieter Brueghel

Posible Self-portrait by Pieter Brueghel

Lucio Fontana by Lothar Wolleh

Lucio Fontana by Lothar Wolleh

Portrait of Franz Marc, by August Macke

Portrait of Franz Marc, by August Macke

Self-portrait by Pierre Auguste Renoir

Self-portrait by Pierre Auguste Renoir

Self-portrait by William Hogarth

Self-portrait by William Hogarth

Gerhard Richter in 2005

Gerhard Richter in 2005

Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani

Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet

Bust of James Ensor, by Edmond de Valériola

Bust of James Ensor, by Edmond de Valériola

Self-portrait by Egon Schiele

Self-portrait by Egon Schiele

Self-portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi

Self-portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi

Fernand Léger, photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1936

Fernand Léger, photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1936

 

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