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Vassily Kandinsky

Vassily Kandinsky

An influential figure in abstract painting, Kandinsky (1866–1944) is known for his innovative theories on nonrepresentational art. Believed to be one of the first artists to create one of the first recognized purely abstract works, Kandinsky championed his belief that pure colors and forms could express the “inner life” of the artist. He believed that total abstraction could lead to profound, transcendental expression and that rendering from nature only interfered with this process.

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 an inner feeling. Kandinsky likened painting to composing music, 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".