I hit my artistic peak with my rendering of my uncle’s Conan the Barbarian upper arm tattoo (complete with blood splatter) when I was eight. Truly appreciating art always seemed like the province of finer souls. A secret protected on par with gypsy divination and Shamrock shakes. I guess I always thought art was beyond words. Kandinsky, in his brief book, proves otherwise. Incredibly lucid and articulate, Kandinsky leads the reader to move past an intellectual appreciation of art:
The spectator is too ready to look for a meaning in a picture- i.e., some outward connection between its various parts. Our materialistic age has produced a type of spectator or “connoisseur,” who is not content to put himself opposite a picture and let it say its own message. Instead of allowing the inner value of the picture to work, he worries himself in looking for “closeness to nature,” or “temperament,” or handling,” or “tonality,” or “perspective,” or what not. His eye does not probe the outer expression to arrive at the inner meaning. pg. 49.With academic discipline, he explains the effects of color and form on the very non-academic soul. He effectively evokes the spiritual response to color through metaphor. It would be easy for Kandinsky to hide behind vague explanations to increase the sense of profundity in abstract art. But he doesn’t. He maps out the themes of abstraction concisely. All in an effort to go beyond meaning and aesthetic. His goal is to attune the soul to the effect of color. It’s all quite sincere and inspiring.