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Kandinsky and Contemporaries

Episode 5 of 5

Dr Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, explores the relationship between spirituality and mysticism in the work of Russian artist Kandinsky and his contemporaries.

Concluding our series, The Mystical Turn, Dr Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, explores the relationship between spirituality and mysticism in the work of Russian artist Kandinsky and his contemporaries.

Artists - as well as devout Christians and seekers on the edge of institutional religion - sought a path to union with the divine. Kandinsky's manifesto on the relationship between spirituality and art - The Art of Spiritual Harmony (later retitled Concerning the Spiritual in Art) - was first published in English in 1914 (it had originally been published in German in 1912). Kandinsky believed that art belonged to the spiritual realm, that form and colour were central, and that there was a link between so-called "primitive art" and the spiritual. He was not alone. His views were echoed in the art of his contemporaries: in the paintings of the Post-impressionists; in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, which had its premiere in Paris in 1913; and in The New Science of Colour by New York poet, Beatrice Irwin.

Producer: Ian Willox
Executive Producer: Alan Hall

A Chrome Radio production for BBC Radio 3.

15 minutes

Last on

Fri 20 May 2011 22:45

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