Wassily Kandinsky. Circles in a Circle, 1923

Circles in a Circle


Geometric abstraction

Oil on canvas

38.9 × 37.6" (98.7 × 95.6 cm)

Philadelphia. USA. Philadelphia Museum of Art

1579 views in February

“Circles in a Circle” is a compact and closed composition. Kandinsky began a thoughtful study of the circle as an artistic unit starting from this painting. In his letter to Galka Scheyer he wrote, “it is the first picture of mine to bring the theme of circles to the foreground.” The outer black circle, as if the second frame for a picture, encourages us to focus on the interaction between the inside circles, and two intersecting diagonal stripes enhance the effect, adding a perspective to the composition.

More from 1923

More from Philadelphia. USA. Philadelphia Museum of Art



#15. Charis Wrieden, Essex

21 March
This is a great composition


#14. Hayley Steindorf , New Windsor

18 November
This painting is my favorite.

#13. Penny Martin, UK

23 January
Taken from the Philadelphia Museum of Art about this piece

"Circles in a Circle demonstrates Kandinsky's distinctive style from the early 1920s, when he began teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, and subsequently moved away from a spontaneous painting style to a geometric composition. In this work, a thick black circle surrounds twenty-six overlapping circles of varying sizes and colors, many of them intersected by straight black lines. Two strobes of blue and yellow extending from the top corners cross toward the center of the piece, changing the colors of the circles where they overlap. Although Circles in a Circle is distinctly different from Kandinsky's paintings of the beginning years of the twentieth century, it reflects his continued belief that certain colors and shapes signify emotions that can be codified and combined into a whole, reflecting the harmony of the cosmos. For Kandinsky, the circle, the most elementary of forms, had symbolic, cosmic significance. He wrote that "the circle is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions. It combines the concentric and the excentric in a single form, and in balance."1 In a letter of 1931, he described Circles in a Circle as "the first picture of mine to bring the theme of circles to the foreground."2 Emily Hage, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 136.

1) Kandinsky, as translated in Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinksy: Life and Work, trans. Norbert Guterman (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1958), p. 188.
2) Kandinsky to Galka Scheyer, Dessau, May 9, 1931, as translated in Amy Baker Sandback, "Blue Hights Drive," Artforum 28, no. 7 (March 1990), p. 127."


#12. Hayley, New Windsor

22 April
Circles in a circle starred in Little einsteins The wild goose chase.

#11. yolo, lol

19 March

#10. bankhu, india

05 March
more information lady or man


#9. Sikh , fund

12 November
what did he use to paint this I need this info now

#8. Jonathan, Washington

06 March
What a wonderful painting! I will use it in my artist report.

#7. Emily, New York

06 March
Where are the steps to draw the painting?!
Please add more! :)


#6. Jim, London

22 May
If you like this, you can see it for real until 12th August as part of the Bauhaus exhibition at the Barbican, London. http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=12409

#5. Neeha, Monaghan

24 February
The painting is brilliant i like
i like all of them.


#4. Jack Johnson, Maryland

15 December
more info!!

#3. wwwwwwwwww, wwwwwwww

24 October
There is barely any information on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! much much much more information is needed please!!!!!!!!!!!

#2. Diana, West Des Moines, Iowa

27 March
I teach in an Art Center, young children, drawing and painting, and I am always trying to find different ways to teach painting, spinning off from the "Masters", yet interesting enough to capture them. This is a great painting which I plan to use---do you have other ideas useful for children's art.


#1. ashley, lusaka

20 September
please give me more information about the painting kandisky did named circle in a circle

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