Entering the Kingdom of Abstraction: Kandinsky’s Viewer

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Title: Entering the Kingdom of Abstraction: Kandinsky’s Viewer
Author: Hutchinson, Thea
Advisor: Dawson, John David
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Religion
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2009
Abstract: Abstract art offers the viewer an encounter with the spiritual. In a society that lacks proper expression of the spiritual, the artist advances the social whole towards a kingdom of visual abstraction. This claim challenges the existing method through which spirituality is generally thought to be communicated. How is this possible when the general conception of the spiritual relies on culturally recognized religious or spiritual forms? How is the viewer engaged in the process as an active participate, while the artist is the creator of the art work? At the beginning of the 20th century, Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky began creating abstract works of art. His manifesto, Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1913) presents a theory about how to view his works as expressions of the spiritual. A close textual analysis coupled with six of his six paintings, a sketch, and a series of photographs by Gabriele Münter, illustrates the visual links between Kandinsky’s writing and his paintings. The visual works are: Composition VII (1913), All Saints I (1911), All Saints I (2nd copy) (1911), Last Judgment (1910), Impression III (1911), Improvisation Deluge (1913), Sketch for Composition VII (1913), and 4 Photographs (1913).
Subject: Art and religion
Subject: Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944 -- Criticism and interpretation
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Hutchinson, Thea. "Entering the Kingdom of Abstraction: Kandinsky’s Viewer". 2009. Available electronically from

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