Famous Artists and their Circles 2 : Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky: Colour study, Squares with concentric circles (1913)

You may wish to use this page along with Merry-Go-Round Booklet p.10: Roly poly : Merry-Go-Round booklet

The circle speaks of planned order, the symbol of perfection. Anything ‘roly poly’ is less predictable, more random, – like the traditional roly-poly toy, or a ball rolling down a hill.

The best learning happens when there is a mixture of both: the discipline of acquiring and practising skills, and experimentation, with freedom of expression.

The Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) championed freedom of expression. When you look at works of art before Kandinsky’s time, you will find lots of things you recognise: real-life figures, objects and landscapes. Kandinsky didn’t like copying. He wanted his paintings to be free of expectation. They are much more random with a mix-match of lines, circles and colours floating freely across the canvas – a form known as abstract art. Our minds have to work a lot harder to understand abstract art because it has no obvious subject, and it encourages us to use our imaginations.

Kandinsky saw the dot, or point, as an “ideally small circle”, the most basic element of painting: “Everything starts from a dot”. Although the dot itself does not move, he wrote, it has the potential to create any number of lines and shapes.

Kandinsky: Several Circles (1926)

What different lines and shapes can you see created by the circles in this painting?







Find out more…


The Noisy Paint Box – Barbara Rosenstock










Video: Kandinsky Circles animated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-vvwCOwD14


Download a pdf version of this page : _Famous Artists and their Circles 2 Kandinsky

Produced by An Lanntair as part of Full Circle Arts programme.  Funded through the Aspiring Communities Fund with support from the European Social Fund.