Circles in the circle by Vasily Kandinsky

Circles in the circle by Vasily Kandinsky

The painting “Circles in a circle” shows a special style of Kandinsky early 1920s, when he began teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar. He moved away from the spontaneous style of painting in geometric composition.

In this work, a black circle surrounds twenty-six intersecting circles of different sizes and colors, many of them intersect by straight black lines. Two bright beams of blue and yellow, passing from the upper corners intersect towards the center, changing the colors of the circles, where they overlap each other.

Although the painting “Circles in a circle” differs markedly from other works of the Kandinsky beginning of the twentieth century, it reflects his unchanging belief that certain colors and forms mean emotions that can be codified and combined into a single whole, which reflects the harmony of the cosmos.

For Kandinsky, the circle, one of the most elementary forms, had a symbolic, cosmic significance. He wrote that “the circle is a synthesis of the greatest oppositions: it combines concentric and eccentric in one form, and in balance.” In 1931, in a letter to Emily Hag at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, he described “Circles in a Circle” as “the first picture of a mine to bring the topic of circles to the forefront.”

“Circles in a circle” is a compact closed composition. Kandinsky began a thoughtful study of the circle as an artistic block, beginning with this picture. The outer black circle, as if the second frame for the picture, encourages us to focus on the interaction of inner circles and two intersecting diagonal bands to enhance the effect, adding perspective to the composition.

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