Embracing change means forgetting progress…

Kandinsky, so the story goes , had been walking around the countryside near his studio at Murnau. Lost in thought, he happened to glance the most beautiful and beguiling painting had ever seen as he returned home. Shaken from his meditative state, he realises that the work is his – but not as he had intended it to be seen; leant against the studio wall, on its side in the shadows, Kandinsky’s picture cannot be seen in detail, but only as an abstract impression of a scene.

The lesson? Don’t chase reality by copying it, paint what you feel to be real; the underlying meaning of a motif is everything, it’s details are meaningless. He got this wrong in the early 1900’s when he was still wedded to the idea of the painters as an inefficient camera.


1901 landscape. oh dear.This is a painting about this view.

kandinsky murnau 1908

1908. Out with detail and realism, in with the big picture. Quite a leap, this is a painting about this painting.

I read an account of Kandinsky’s epiphany again yesterday, and it’s wonderful how these things always seem to happen when one most needs them. But then, maybe I was looking for answers, after all we notice car adverts when we are looking to change our car.

So not lucky, receptive.

Art History again, this time explaining how that sometimes, if you can’t work out the answer, that you should change the question.

He went on from there of course, and to very great heights, but for me an early Kandinsky is a good Kandinsky, later on it all got a bit , well, self indulgent. I’m off for a meditative stroll…


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