Circles in a Circle (1923)  by Wassily Kandinsky

Circles in a Circle


Geometric abstraction

Oil on canvas

38.9 × 37.6" (98.7 × 95.6 cm)

Philadelphia. USA. Philadelphia Museum of Art


“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.

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28 August 2017
this artwork represents the start of the earth big bang with balls representing planets in the future truely a artpeice

Charis Wrieden, Essex

21 March 2017
This is a great composition

Hayley Steindorf , New Windsor

18 November 2015
This painting is my favorite.

Penny Martin, UK

23 January 2015
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."

Hayley, New Windsor

22 April 2014
Circles in a circle starred in Little einsteins The wild goose chase.

yolo, lol

19 March 2014

bankhu, india

05 March 2014
more information lady or man

Sikh , fund

12 November 2013
what did he use to paint this I need this info now

Jonathan, Washington

06 March 2013
What a wonderful painting! I will use it in my artist report.

Emily, New York

06 March 2013
Where are the steps to draw the painting?!
Please add more! :)

Jim, London

22 May 2012
If you like this, you can see it for real until 12th August as part of the Bauhaus exhibition at the Barbican, London.

Neeha, Monaghan

24 February 2012
The painting is brilliant i like
i like all of them.

Jack Johnson, Maryland

15 December 2011
more info!!

wwwwwwwwww, wwwwwwww

24 October 2011
There is barely any information on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! much much much more information is needed please!!!!!!!!!!!

Diana, West Des Moines, Iowa

27 March 2011
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.

ashley, lusaka

20 September 2010
please give me more information about the painting kandisky did named circle in a circle

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