Vasily Kandinskiy, Improvisation. 1910

more than a year ago
At the beginning of the twentieth century, European art took a new direction: expressionism, a movement that manifested itself differently according to various interpretations at national art schools. One of the main exponents of the movement was Vasily Kandinsky and his painting “Improvisation” which was completed by the artist in 1910. 
At first glance, the image might look like a petit genre. In the painting, a blue boat can easily be distinguished under a yellow sail; underneath, a group of rowers is getting shot from a firing squad standing on the shore. However, on closer examination, the arbitrariness in the use of colours and shapes becomes evident. 
The expressionist nature of the painting shows itself in the red cloud and the lightning striking from it, as well as in the bent yellow cannon in the foreground and the bridge across the river. Other elements on the canvas are simply treated as ornaments, such as the spray of water behind the boat, or the stylised coloured figures with swords on the right.
This picture seems to mark the moment in which Kandinsky is freed from the significance of the event, using it as a mere pretext for arbitrary aesthetic improvisations, as suggested by the title of the work.
"A minor or major reminder of reality appears to the viewer as an echo, and this happens to everyone who has feelings," wrote Kandinsky, using his musical associations. He compared, for example, the impact of yellow with the music produced by a trumpet, blue -  with the sounds of the cello, and cinnabar red - with drum beats.
You can see this painting at the exhibition "Expressionism in Russian Art". Read more in the guide "St.Petersburg In Your Pocket" №117, October-November 2018, p. 42.


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