Anthroposophy in Art
An exploration of the anthroposophical movement and its existence in various Russian art forms of the 20th century.

The pages regarding specific periods of Kandinsky’s life and oeuvre provide more detailed information linking Kandinsky and anthroposophy. This page provides an overview.

Kandinsky was a believer that art in its many forms could help an individual escape the bonds of everyday reality and through abstraction could achieve a higher spiritual reality. He did this primarily through color. Each color represented something specific for Kandinsky, and through his painting career, he worked away from representations of forms in reality toward shapes and colors meant to be emblematic or suggestive of other things. By leaving behind the need to recognizably depict the known world, Kandinsky approached the freedom discussed in anthroposophy.

Colors were endowed with unique and specific properties. A particularly noticeable example was the deep blue frequently used by both Bely and Kandinsky. Kandinsky wrote about this choice in his work, On the Spiritual in Art (1912).

“Blue is the truly celestial color. It creates an atmosphere of calmness – not like green, which represents an earthly self-satisfied stillness; it creates a solemn, supernatural depth.”

“The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man toward the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural. It is the color of the heavens, the same color we picture to ourselves when we hear the sound of the word ‘heaven.'”

Kandinsky was not always this specific. He also contemplated the connections between music and art, as well as working to express a sense of freedom in his work. Here he is in his own words.

Kandinsky: “Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.”

Kandinsky: “There is no must in art because art is free.”

Kandinsky: “Abstract art places a new world, which on the surface has nothing to do with “reality,” next to the “real” world. Deeper down, it is subject to the common laws of the “cosmic world.” And so a “new world of art” is juxtaposed to the “world of nature.” This “world of art” is just as real, just as concrete. For this reason I prefer to call so-called “abstract art” “concrete art.”

The chart below contains the meanings and ideas assigned by Kandinsky to specific colors, as well as the musical qualities he associated with each color.

Kandinsky’s Color Theory

More specific information on Kandinsky’s color theory can be found here.