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Art Quotes from Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944)

Quotes from the artist credited as having created the first abstract watercolour

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Color and the Soul: "Color directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposively, to cause vibrations in the soul."
-- Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art

Warm and Cool Colors:"Two great divisions of colour occur to the mind at the outset: into warm and cold, and into light and dark. To each colour there are therefore four shades of appeal—warm and light or warm and dark, or cold and light or cold and dark."
(Source: Ibid.)

"When [blue] sinks almost to black, it echoes a grief that is hardly human. When it rises towards white ... its appeal to men grows weaker and more distant."
(Source: Ibid.)

"Objects damage pictures."

"The more frightening the world becomes ... the more art becomes abstract."

"There is only one road to follow, that of analysis of the basic elements in order to arrive ultimately at an adequate graphic expression."

"Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential."

"All methods are sacred if they are internally necessary. All methods are sins if they are not justified by internal necessity."

"Each period of a civilisation creates an art that is specific in it and which we will never see reborn. To try and revive the principles of art of past centuries can lead only to the production of stillborn works."

"The true work of art is born from the 'artist': a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being."

"The artist is not a 'Sunday child' for whom everything immediately succeeds. He does not have the right to live without duty. The task that is assigned to him is painful, it is a heavy cross for him to bear."

• You can read the full text of Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art online on Project Gutenberg.

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