Today’s Google Doodle Celebrates Wassily Kandinsky: Pioneer of Abstract Art
Today’s Google doodle is an interpretation of Kandinsky’s Composition 8. The piece reflects Kandinsky’s philosophy on art – combining colors and abstract shapes to evoke emotions and moods.
Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866, the son of tea merchants. Growing up, he had a strong fascination with visual art and music. It’s rumored that Kandinsky had synaesthesia, a condition in which a person can see sounds and hear colors. This harmless affliction inspired him to create paintings that would stimulate an auditory response in viewers. He often titled his works like musical pieces – with names like improvisations, fugue or compositions.
Although Kandinsky was exposed to art at a young age, he studied law and economics at the University of Moscow. He was eventually offered a position as a professor at the University of Dorpat. At the age of 30, he traveled to Munich to enroll into art school. Inspired by Monet’s impressionistic masterpiece, Haystacks, and Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, Kandinsky devoted the rest of his life to art theory and painting. After seeing the opera, he noted, “I saw all my colors in spirit, before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me.”
After World War I, he returned to Russia to develop their arts education and organize the Institute of Artistic Culture. His dynamic style upset the members of the institute, and moved back to Germany to teach at the Bauhaus. After the Nazi’s rise to power, the party raided the Bauhaus and confiscated several of Kandinsky’s works. The Nazis launched a smear-campaign against the school and displayed the disapproved artworks in an exhibition called “Degenerate Art” in 1937.
He then settled in Paris to dedicate his time to painting and mastering his craft. He died in 1944, three days before his 78th birthday.
Kandinsky’s works replaced tangible objects with jagged, geometric shapes and patches of color that would “sing” harmoniously together. He wrote his own book on art theory in 1912 called Concerning the Spiritual in Art to explore how color could elicit a sensory experience within the soul of the viewer. His pioneering approach to combining visual art and music would continue to inspire artists, poets and all things remotely psychedelic throughout the 20th century