Composition no.4, 1911 by Wassily Kandinsky



Title

Composition no.4, 1911

Artist

Wassily Kandinsky

Ref SPT8700
Type Print
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Description  
Composition IV was painted in 1911 and is the fourth of a series of paintings by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. The paintings he entitled Compositions explore the artist’s attempts to represent the structure and form of music through the medium of painting. The painting measures 63 x 99 inches, and it is in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was made using oil paints on canvas. Apart from his artistic work, Kandinsky was also a prolific writer, and he explained in great detail what he was trying to achieve in these compositions. He did not want his paintings to be representational. Instead, he used an abstract style to convey emotional and spiritual meanings. Composition IV is a symphony of confused shapes and colors. Many of the shapes evoke ideas of musicians and musical instruments. The painting is divided abruptly in the center by two thick, black vertical lines. On the left, a violent motion is expressed through the profusion of sharp, jagged and entangled lines. On the right, all is calm, with sweeping forms and color harmonies. Composition IV works on multiple levels: initially, the colors and forms exercise an emotional impact over the viewer, without need to consider the representational aspects. The artist had become frustrated working on it. While he was out, fellow artist Gabriele Münter tidied his studio, and turned the painting sideways. When he saw it, Kandinsky then realized this was what he had been trying to achieve.