Constantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor and photographer who made his career in France. Considered a pioneer of modernism, one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century, Brâncuși is called the patriarch of modern sculpture; as a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest to Munich to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1905 to 1907, his art emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși sought inspiration in non-European cultures as a source of primitive exoticism, as did Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, André Derain and others. However, other influences emerge from Romanian folk art traceable through Byzantine and Dionysian traditions. Brâncuși grew up in the village of Hobiţa, near Târgu Jiu, close to Romania's Carpathian Mountains, an area known for its rich tradition of folk crafts woodcarving. Geometric patterns of the region are seen in his works.
His parents Nicolae and Maria Brâncuși were poor peasants who earned a meager living through back-breaking labor. He showed talent for carving objects out of wood, ran away from home to escape the bullying of his father and older brothers. At the age of nine, Brâncuși left the village to work in the nearest large town. At 11 he went into the service of a grocer in Slatina; when he was 18, Brâncuși created a violin by hand with materials. Impressed by Brâncuși's talent for carving, an industrialist entered him in the Craiova School of Arts and Crafts, where he pursued his love for woodworking, graduating with honors in 1898, he enrolled in the Bucharest School of Fine Arts, where he received academic training in sculpture. He worked hard, distinguished himself as talented. One of his earliest surviving works, under the guidance of his anatomy teacher, Dimitrie Gerota, is a masterfully rendered écorché, exhibited at the Romanian Athenaeum in 1903. Though just an anatomical study, it foreshadowed the sculptor's efforts to reveal essence rather than copy outward appearance.
In 1903, Brâncuși traveled to Munich, from there to Paris. In Paris, he was welcomed by the community of intellectuals brimming with new ideas, he worked for two years in the workshop of Antonin Mercié of the École des Beaux-Arts, was invited to enter the workshop of Auguste Rodin. Though he admired the eminent Rodin he left the Rodin studio after only two months, saying, "Nothing can grow under big trees."After leaving Rodin's workshop, Brâncuși began developing the revolutionary style for which he is known. His first commissioned work, The Prayer, was part of a gravestone memorial, it depicts a young woman crossing herself as she kneels, marks the first step toward abstracted, non-literal representation, shows his drive to depict "not the outer form but the idea, the essence of things." He began doing more carving, rather than the method popular with his contemporaries, that of modeling in clay or plaster which would be cast in metal, by 1908 he worked exclusively by carving. In the following few years he made many versions of Sleeping Muse and The Kiss, further simplifying forms to geometrical and sparse objects.
His works became popular in France and the United States. Collectors, notably John Quinn, bought his pieces, reviewers praised his works. In 1913 Brâncuși's work was displayed at both the Salon des Indépendants and the first exhibition in the U. S. of modern art, the Armory Show. In 1920, he developed a notorious reputation with the entry of Princess X in the Salon; the phallic appearance of this large, gleaming bronze piece scandalized the Salon and, despite Brâncuși's explanation that it was meant to represent the essence of womanhood, removed it from the exhibition. Princess X was revealed to be Princess Marie Bonaparte, direct descendant of the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte; the sculpture has been interpreted by some as symbolizing her obsession with the penis and her lifelong quest to achieve vaginal orgasm, with the help of Sigmund Freud. Around this time Brâncuși began crafting the bases for his sculptures with much care and originality because he considered them important to the works themselves.
One of his major groups of sculptures involved the Bird in Space — simple abstract shapes representing a bird in flight. The works are based on his earlier Măiastra series. In Romanian folklore the Măiastra is a beautiful golden bird who foretells the future and cures the blind. Over the following 20 years, Brâncuși made multiple versions of Bird in Space out of marble or bronze. Athena Tacha Spear's book, Brâncuși's Birds, first sorted out the 36 versions and their development, from the early Măiastra, to the Golden Bird of the late teens, to the Bird in Space, which emerged in the early 1920s and which Brâncuși developed throughout his life. One of these versions caused a major controversy in 1926, when photographer Edward Steichen purchased it and shipped it to the United States. Customs officers did not accept the Bird as a work of art and assessed customs duty on its import as an industrial item. After protracted court proceedings, this assessment was overturned, thus confirming the Bird's status as a duty-exempt work of art.
The ruling established the important principle that "art" does not have to i
Carlo Carrà was an Italian painter and a leading figure of the Futurist movement that flourished in Italy during the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to his many paintings, he wrote a number of books concerning art, he taught for many years in the city of Milan. Carrà was born near Alessandria. At the age of 12 he left home. In 1899–1900, Carrà was in Paris decorating pavilions at the Exposition Universelle, where he became acquainted with contemporary French art, he spent a few months in London in contact with exiled Italian anarchists, returned to Milan in 1901. In 1906, he enrolled at Brera Academy in the city, studied under Cesare Tallone. In 1910 he signed, along with Umberto Boccioni, Luigi Russolo and Giacomo Balla the Manifesto of Futurist Painters, began a phase of painting that became his most popular and influential. Carrà's Futurist phase ended around the time World War, his work, while still using some Futurist concepts, began to deal more with form and stillness, rather than motion and feeling.
Inspired by Trecento painting, children's art, the work of Henri Rousseau, Carrà soon began creating still lifes in a simplified style that emphasized the reality of ordinary objects. In 1917 he met Giorgio de Chirico in Ferrara, worked with him there for several weeks. Influenced by de Chirico, Carrà began including mannequin imagery in his paintings; the two artists were the innovators of a style they called "metaphysical painting". By 1919, Carrà's metaphysical phase was giving way to an archaicism inspired by the works of Giotto, whom he admired as "the artist whose forms are closest to our manner of conceiving the construction of bodies in space." Carrà's painting The Daughters of Lot exemplifies the new direction of his work. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, he concentrated on landscape painting and developed a more atmospheric style. An example from this period is his 1928 Morning by the Sea, he is best known for The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli. Carrà was indeed an anarchist as a young man but, along with many other Futurists held more reactionary political views, becoming ultra-nationalist and irredentist before and during the war.
He supported fascism after 1918. In the 1930s, Carrà signed a manifesto in which called for support of the state ideology through art; the Strapaese group he joined, founded by Giorgio Morandi, was influenced by fascism and responded to the neo-classical guidelines, set by the regime after 1937. Carrà died in Milan in 1966; the Funeral of the Anarchist Galli The Enchanted Chamber The Metaphysical Muse The Daughter of the West The Engineer's Lover Canale a Venezia Carrà at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Carrà at the Mart, Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto Mark Antliff, "Fascism and Modernity", in The Art Bulletin, March 2002 Elizabeth Cowling and Jennifer Mundy, On Classic Ground: Picasso, Léger, de Chirico and the New Classicism 1910-1930, London:, Tate Gallery, 1990 ISBN 1-854-37043-X Karen Pinkus, Bodily Regimes: Advertising under Italian Fascism, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, University of Minnesota Press, 1995 ISBN 0-8166-2563-8 Stanislao G. Pugliese, Italian Fascism and Anti-Fascism: A Critical Anthology, Manchester University Press, 2001 ISBN 0-7190-5639-X Ten Dreams Galleries
Umberto Boccioni was an influential Italian painter and sculptor. He helped shape the revolutionary aesthetic of the Futurism movement as one of its principal figures. Despite his short life, his approach to the dynamism of form and the deconstruction of solid mass guided artists long after his death, his works are held by many public art museums, in 1988 the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City organized a major retrospective of 100 pieces. Umberto Boccioni was born on 19 October 1882 in Reggio Calabria, his father was a minor government employee from the Romagna region in the north, his job included frequent reassignments throughout Italy. The family soon relocated further north, Umberto and his older sister Amelia grew up in Forlì, Genoa and Padua. At the age of 15, in 1897, Umberto and his father moved to Catania, where he would finish school; some time after 1898, he moved to Rome and studied art at the Scuola Libera del Nudo of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. The little known about his years in Rome is found in the autobiography of his friend Gino Severini, who recalled their meeting in 1901 and mutual interest in Nietzsche, life experiences and socialism.
Boccioni's writings at this time express the combination of outrage and irony that would become a lifelong characteristic. His critical and rebellious nature, overall intellectual ability, would contribute to the development of the Futurism movement. After building a foundation of skills, having studied the classics through Impressionism, both he and Severini became students of Giacomo Balla, a painter focusing on the modern Divisionist technique, painting with divided rather than mixed color and breaking the painted surface into a field of stippled dots and stripes. Severini wrote "It was a great stroke of luck for us to meet such a man, whose direction was decisive of all our careers." In 1906, he moved to Paris, where he studied Impressionist and Post-Impressionist styles, before visiting Russia for three months, getting a first-hand view of the civil unrest and governmental crackdowns. Returning to Italy in 1907, he took drawing classes at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Venice, he had first visited the Famiglia Artistica, a society for artists in Milan, in 1901.
Boccioni moved to Milan in 1907. There, early in 1908, he met the Divisionist painter Gaetano Previati. In early 1910 he met Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who had published his Manifesto del Futurismo in the previous year. On 11 February 1910 Boccioni, with Balla, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo and Severini, signed the Manifesto dei pittori futuristi, on 8 March he read the manifesto at the Politeama Chiarella theatre in Turin. Boccioni became the main theorist of the artistic movement. "Only when Boccioni, Severini and a few other Futurists traveled to Paris and saw what Braque and Picasso had been doing did the movement begin to take real shape." He decided to be a sculptor after he visited various studios in Paris, in 1912, including those of Georges Braque, Alexander Archipenko, Constantin Brâncuși, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, August Agero and Medardo Rosso. In 1912 he exhibited some paintings together with other Italian futurists at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, the following year returned to show his sculptures at the Galerie La Boétie: all related to the elaboration of what Boccioni had seen in Paris, they in their turn influenced the Cubist sculptors Duchamp-Villon.
"In the brief life span of the Italian Futurist movement, the short-lived Umberto Boccioni was a blazing comet.... Boccioni was a fiery theoretician of the movement, drafting two Futurist manifestoes in 1910 and 1912 that exalted the force and energy of contemporary life, they called for an art that glorified speed and the machine age, one that above all reflected the dynamism of an engine-driven civilization." --Grace Glueck, New York Times Art Critic In 1914 he published Pittura e scultura futuriste explaining the aesthetics of the group: "While the impressionists paint a picture to give one particular moment and subordinate the life of the picture to its resemblance to this moment, we synthesize every moment and thus paint the picture. He exhibited in London, together with the group, in 1912 and 1914: the two exhibitions made a deep impression on a number of young English artists, in particular C. R. W. Nevinson, who joined the movement. Others aligned themselves instead to its British equivalent, led by Wyndham Lewis.
"Boccioni's gift was to bring a fresh eye to reality in ways that, we now recognise, defined the nature of the modern movement in the visual arts and literature, too." --Michael Glover Italian involvement in the First World War began late in May 1915 with Italy's declaration of war on Austro-Hungary. The "Lombard Battalion Volunteers Cyclists and Motorists", which Boccioni was part of, set off in early June from Milan to Gallarate on to Peschiera del Garda, in the rear of the Trentino front. In July 1915, the volunteers were intended for a sector of the front around the Gardesana. On 24 October 1915, Boccioni participated in the battle of Dosso Casina. On 1 December 1915 the battalion was dissolved as part of a general reorganization. In May 1916 Boccioni was drafted into the Italian Army, was assigned to an artillery regiment at Sorte of Chievo, near Verona. On 16 August 1916, he was thrown from his horse during a cavalr
Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger was a major 20th-century French painter, writer and poet, who along with Albert Gleizes wrote the first theoretical work on Cubism. His earliest works, from 1900 to 1904, were influenced by the Neo-impressionism of Georges Seurat and Henri-Edmond Cross. Between 1904 and 1907 Metzinger worked in the Divisionist and Fauvist styles with a strong Cézannian component, leading to some of the first proto-Cubist works. From 1908 Metzinger experimented with the faceting of form, a style that would soon become known as Cubism, his early involvement in Cubism saw him both as an influential artist and an important theorist of the movement. The idea of moving around an object in order to see it from different view-points is treated, for the first time, in Metzinger's Note sur la Peinture, published in 1910. Before the emergence of Cubism, painters worked from the limiting factor of a single view-point. Metzinger, for the first time, in Note sur la peinture, enunciated the interest in representing objects as remembered from successive and subjective experiences within the context of both space and time.
Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes wrote the first major treatise on Cubism in 1912, entitled Du "Cubisme". Metzinger was a founding member of the Section d'Or group of artists. Metzinger was at the center of Cubism both because of his participation and identification of the movement when it first emerged, because of his role as intermediary among the Bateau-Lavoir group and the Section d'Or Cubists, above all because of his artistic personality. During the First World War Metzinger furthered his role as a leading Cubist with his co-founding of the second phase of the movement, referred to as Crystal Cubism, he recognized the importance of mathematics in art, through a radical geometrization of form as an underlying architectural basis for his wartime compositions. The establishing of the basis of this new perspective, the principles upon which an non-representational art could be built, led to La Peinture et ses lois, written by Albert Gleizes in 1922–23; as post-war reconstruction began, a series of exhibitions at Léonce Rosenberg's Galerie de L'Effort Moderne were to highlight order and allegiance to the aesthetically pure.
The collective phenomenon of Cubism—now in its advanced revisionist form—became part of a discussed development in French culture, with Metzinger at its helm. Crystal Cubism was the culmination of a continuous narrowing of scope in the name of a return to order. In terms of the separation of culture and life, this period emerges as the most important in the history of Modernism. For Metzinger, the classical vision had been an incomplete representation of real things, based on an incomplete set of laws and theorems, he believed the world was dynamic and changing in time, that it appeared different depending on the point of view of the observer. Each of these viewpoints were valid according to underlying symmetries inherent in nature. For inspiration, Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist and one of the principle founders of quantum mechanics, hung in his office a large painting by Metzinger, La Femme au Cheval, a conspicuous early example of "mobile perspective" implementation. Jean Metzinger came from a prominent military family.
His great-grandfather, Nicolas Metzinger, Captain in the 1st Horse Artillery Regiment, Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, had served under Napoleon Bonaparte. A street in the Sixième arrondissement of Nantes was named after Jean's grandfather, Charles Henri Metzinger. Following the early death of his father, Eugène François Metzinger, Jean pursued interests in mathematics and painting, though his mother, a music professor by the name of Eugénie Louise Argoud, had ambitions of his becoming a medical doctor. Jean's younger brother Maurice would become a musician. By 1900 Jean was a student at Académie Cours Cambronne in Nantes, working under Hippolyte Touront, a well-known portrait painter who taught an academic, conventional style of painting. Metzinger, was interested in the current trends in painting. Metzinger sent three paintings to the Salon des Indépendants in 1903, subsequently moved to Paris with the proceeds from their sale. From the age of 20, Metzinger supported himself as a professional painter.
He exhibited in Paris from 1903, participating in the first Salon d'Automne the same year and taking part in a group show with Raoul Dufy and Torent, from 19 January-22 February 1903 at the gallery run by Berthe Weill, with another show November 1903. Metzinger exhibited at Berthe Weill's gallery 23 November-21 December 1905 and again 14 January-10 February 1907, with Robert Delaunay, in 1908 with André Derain, Fernand Léger and Pablo Picasso, 28 April-28 May 1910 with Derain, Georges Rouault and Kees van Dongen, he would show four more times at Weill's gallery, 17 January-1 February 1913, March 1913, June 1914 and February 1921. It is at Berthe Weill's. Berthe Weill was the first Parisian art dealer to sell works of Picasso. Along with Picasso and Metzinger, she helped discover Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Utrillo. In 1904 Metzinger exhibited six paintings in the Divisionist style at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d’Automne. In 1905 Metzinger exhibited eight paintings at Salon des Indépendants.
In this exhibition Metzinger is directly asso
Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, after 1906 Piet Mondrian, was a Dutch painter and theoretician, regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th century abstract art, as he changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to an abstract style, until he reached a point where his artistic vocabulary was reduced to simple geometric elements. Mondrian's art was utopian and was concerned with a search for universal values and aesthetics, he proclaimed in 1914: Art is higher than reality and has no direct relation to reality. To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality, because reality is opposed to the spiritual. We find ourselves in the presence of an abstract art. Art should be above reality, otherwise it would have no value for man, his art, always remained rooted in nature. He was a contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which he co-founded with Theo van Doesburg, he evolved a non-representational form.
This was the new'pure plastic art' which he believed was necessary in order to create'universal beauty'. To express this, Mondrian decided to limit his formal vocabulary to the three primary colors, the three primary values and the two primary directions. Mondrian's arrival in Paris from the Netherlands in 1911 marked the beginning of a period of profound change, he encountered experiments in Cubism and with the intent of integrating himself within the Parisian avant-garde removed an'a' from the Dutch spelling of his name. Mondrian's work had an enormous influence on 20th century art, influencing not only the course of abstract painting and numerous major styles and art movements, but fields outside the domain of painting, such as design and fashion. Design historian Stephen Bayley said:'Mondrian has come to mean Modernism, his name and his work sum up the High Modernist ideal. I don’t like the word ‘iconic’, so let’s say that he’s become totemic – a totem for everything Modernism set out to be.'
Mondrian was born in Amersfoort in the second of his parents' children. He was descended from Christian Dirkzoon Monderyan who lived in The Hague as early as 1670; the family moved to Winterswijk when his father, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was appointed head teacher at a local primary school. Mondrian was introduced to art from an early age, his father was a qualified drawing teacher, with his uncle, Fritz Mondriaan, the younger Piet painted and drew along the river Gein. After a strict Protestant upbringing, in 1892, Mondrian entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam, he was qualified as a teacher. He began his career as a teacher in primary education, but he practiced painting. Most of his work from this period is naturalistic or Impressionistic, consisting of landscapes; these pastoral images of his native country depict windmills and rivers in the Dutch Impressionist manner of the Hague School and in a variety of styles and techniques that attest to his search for a personal style. These paintings are representational, they illustrate the influence that various artistic movements had on Mondrian, including pointillism and the vivid colors of Fauvism.
On display in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag are a number of paintings from this period, including such Post-Impressionist works as The Red Mill and Trees in Moonrise. Another painting, depicting a tree in a field at dusk augurs future developments by using a palette consisting entirely of red and blue. Although Avond is only limitedly abstract, it is the earliest Mondrian painting to emphasize primary colors. Mondrian's earliest paintings showing a degree of abstraction are a series of canvases from 1905 to 1908 that depict dim scenes of indistinct trees and houses reflected in still water. Although the result leads the viewer to begin focusing on the forms over the content, these paintings are still rooted in nature, it is only the knowledge of Mondrian's achievements that leads one to search in these works for the roots of his future abstraction. Mondrian's art was intimately related to his philosophical studies. In 1908, he became interested in the theosophical movement launched by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in the late 19th century, in 1909 he joined the Dutch branch of the Theosophical Society.
The work of Blavatsky and a parallel spiritual movement, Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy affected the further development of his aesthetic. Blavatsky believed that it was possible to attain a more profound knowledge of nature than that provided by empirical means, much of Mondrian's work for the rest of his life was inspired by his search for that spiritual knowledge. In 1918, he wrote "I got everything from the Secret Doctrine", referring to a book written by Blavatsky. In 1921, in a letter to Steiner, Mondrian argued that his neoplasticism was "the art of the foreseeable future for all true Anthroposophists and Theosophists", he remained a committed Theosophist in subsequent years, although he believed that his own artistic current, would become part of a larger, ecumenical spirituality. Mondrian and his work were influenced by the 1911 Moderne Kunstkring exhibition of Cubism in Amsterdam, his search for simplification is shown in two versions of Still Life with Ginger Pot. The 1911 version is Cubist.
Dynamism of a Cyclist
Dynamism of a Cyclist is a 1913 painting by Italian Futurist artist Umberto Boccioni that demonstrates the Futurist preoccupation with speed, modern methods of transport, the depiction of the dynamic sensation of movement. Futurism was an early twentieth-century movement in Italy that sought to free the country from what the Futurists saw as the dead weight of its classical past; the Futurists were preoccupied with the dynamism of modern life. The movement found its expression in literature and art. Boccioni's preparatory drawings for the painting depict a head-down racing cyclist, behind in the air, his movement indicated by the characteristic Futurist "force lines" and echoing curves. Force lines, which the Futurists claimed to have invented, show how an object would resolve itself if it followed the tendencies of its own forces and reflected the interest of the Futurists in the philosophy of Henri Bergson, who believed that material objects exist in a state of continual flux; the painting is therefore an attempt to represent the dynamic sensation of a cyclist moving through time and space rather than a snap-shot of a particular moment in time.
The bicycle and the surrounding space fuse together in a single form. Although the bicycle had been invented in the early nineteenth century, it did not come into widespread use until the 1890s. In 1913, the bicycle, the high speeds obtainable on it, still represented for the Futurists one of the modern forms of transport that they idealised. In the final work, the lines of the preparatory drawings are translated into curves and cones, outlined using Boccioni's characteristic divisionist technique; this technique was derived from the early Futurist Giacomo Balla. Boccioni, after visiting Parisian avant-garde painters, added new elements to the style, including the typical Cubist segmentation of planes; the discordant colour choices reflect the failure of the Futurists to develop a coherent colour theory to match their theories in other areas. This work is one of a series of "dynamism" paintings he created in 1913, including Dynamism of a Human Body, The Dynamism of a Soccer Player, Dynamism of a Footballer, Plastic Dynamism: Horse + Houses.
In these paintings, Boccioni utilized a more vivid color palette than in his previous works, his application of the paint was thicker and denser. The Russian Futurists explored many of the same themes as the Italians. Natalia Goncharova's Cyclist includes some of the same techniques for portraying movement used by Boccioni and the other Futurists, although the work is far more directly representational than Dynamism of a Cyclist and much less ambitious. Cubism Four studies for Dynamism of a Cyclist, 1913
Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was a Russian painter and art theorist. Kandinsky is credited as the pioneer of abstract art. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent his childhood in Odessa, where he graduated at Grekov Odessa Art school, he enrolled at the University of Moscow. Successful in his profession—he was offered a professorship at the University of Dorpat—Kandinsky began painting studies at the age of 30. In 1896, Kandinsky settled in Munich, studying first at Anton Ažbe's private school and at the Academy of Fine Arts, he returned to Moscow in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I. Following the Russian Revolution, Kandinsky "became an insider in the cultural administration of Anatoly Lunacharsky" and helped establish the Museum of the Culture of Painting. However, by "his spiritual outlook... was foreign to the argumentative materialism of Soviet society", opportunities beckoned in Germany, to which he returned in 1920. There he taught at the Bauhaus school of art and architecture from 1922 until the Nazis closed it in 1933.
He moved to France, where he lived for the rest of his life, becoming a French citizen in 1939 and producing some of his most prominent art. He died in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944. Kandinsky's creation of abstract work followed a long period of development and maturation of intense thought based on his artistic experiences, he called this devotion to inner beauty, fervor of spirit, spiritual desire inner necessity. Kandinsky was born in Moscow, the son of Lidia Ticheeva and Vasily Silvestrovich Kandinsky, a tea merchant. One of his great grandmothers was a Princess Gantimurova explaining the "slight Mongolian trait in his features". Kandinsky learned from a variety of sources while in Moscow, he studied many fields while including law and economics. In life, he would recall being fascinated and stimulated by colour as a child, his fascination with colour symbolism and psychology continued. In 1889, he was part of an ethnographic research group which travelled to the Vologda region north of Moscow.
In Looks on the Past, he relates that the houses and churches were decorated with such shimmering colours that upon entering them, he felt that he was moving into a painting. This experience, his study of the region's folk art, was reflected in much of his early work. A few years he first likened painting to composing music in the manner for which he would become noted, writing, "Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings; the artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul". Kandinsky was the uncle of Russian-French philosopher Alexandre Kojève. In 1896, at the age of 30, Kandinsky gave up a promising career teaching law and economics to enroll in the Munich Academy where his teachers would include Franz von Stuck, he was not granted admission, began learning art on his own. That same year, before leaving Moscow, he saw an exhibit of paintings by Monet, he was taken with the impressionistic style of Haystacks.
He would write about this experience: That it was a haystack the catalogue informed me. I could not recognise it; this non-recognition was painful to me. I considered. I dully felt, and I noticed with surprise and confusion that the picture not only gripped me, but impressed itself ineradicably on my memory. Painting took on splendour. Kandinsky was influenced during this period by Richard Wagner's Lohengrin which, he felt, pushed the limits of music and melody beyond standard lyricism, he was spiritually influenced by Madame Blavatsky, the best-known exponent of theosophy. Theosophical theory postulates that creation is a geometrical progression, beginning with a single point; the creative aspect of the form is expressed by a descending series of circles and squares. Kandinsky's book Concerning the Spiritual In Art and Point and Line to Plane echoed this theosophical tenet. Illustrations by John Varley in Thought Forms influenced him visually. In the summer of 1902, Kandinsky invited Gabriele Münter to join him at his summer painting classes just south of Munich in the Alps.
She accepted, their relationship became more personal than professional. Art school considered difficult, was easy for Kandinsky, it was during this time. The number of his existing paintings increased in the beginning of the 20th century. For the most part, Kandinsky's paintings did not feature any human figures. Riding Couple depicts a man on horseback, holding a woman with tenderness and care as they ride past a Russian town with luminous walls across a river; the horse is muted while the leaves in the trees, the town, the reflections in the river glisten with spots of colour and brightness. This work demonstrates the influence of pointillism in the way the depth of field is collapsed into a flat, luminescent s