Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles (1913)  by Wassily Kandinsky

Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles


Watercolor, gouache and crayon on paper

9.4 × 12.4" (23.8 × 31.4 cm)

Munich, The Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus

Squares with Concentric Circles (Farbstudie - Quadrate und konzentrische Ringe), perhaps, Kandinsky's most recognizable work, is not actually a full-fledged picture. This drawing is a small study on how different colour combinations are perceived that the painter used in his creative process as a support material.

For Kandinsky, colour meant more than just a visual component of a picture. Colour is its soul. In his books, he described his own perspective on how colours interacted with each other and with the spectator in detail and very poetically. Moreover, Kandinsky was a synaesthete, i.e. he could ‘hear colours’ and ‘see sounds.’

So, this is probably righteous that after a century, it is not one of his compositions – which he himself considered as his main achievements – but this small drawing that has become one of Kandinsky’s most popular works.

PS: Interestingly, by arranging circles in such manner, the painter unconsciously created a piece of art in the Serial Imagery technique (e.g. Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Diptych).

More from 1913


10 September 2019
Caryn: What's wrong with art done by children? Using that as an insult is ridiculous.
05 September 2019
someone gone unmentioned: this is beautiful but it hurts my eyes ;.;
23 July 2019
Marijane Stomberg: This painting Kandinsky created to remind himself while painting of the relationship of the colors to one another and in so doing, he passed on to all his fans and observers a yardstick, a measurement, a guide to keep and learn from while creating art of our own. The painting, while it is beautiful, finds its greatest asset to be utilitarian. It is famous because the author was famous.
26 June 2019
Karen: Saying a child could have done this is missing the point. Kandinsky did it for himself as a visual reference.

Imagine that when planning out her first book, J K Rowling wrote a list of Harry Potter's features eg black hair, glasses, and a list of adjectives. That list would probably sell for a fair bit of money, and be prized by its owner. To say "A child could have written that list" would be true but the list is special not because it's an amazing list in itself, but because it shows the inner mind workings of a master, who created something incredible.

If you hate this painting and think it is talentless then fair enough... Just don't ever go on a trip to a modern art gallery as you will see things far simpler than this.

Anyone COULD have done this -- but they didn't.
10 March 2019
coolkid001: woah! thats some art right there! so many circles!
truly a revelation!
its like ive never seen a circle like this before!
19 February 2019
bsllileieiih: He must have been a genius
21 December 2018
Amy: I have read the comments about this artist and I am sad that anyone would say this is childs art. Yes, it has a child like play yet the artist shares his reason and communicates through color. If you are wise and knowledgable about art you can find his reasoning through each painting. Ignorance is when someone speculates without investigation and not to understand this artist lets me think that the person doesn't know the color wheel. If you know the color wheel and you look at these studies you can see clearly that he has an agenda. He wanted to know how colors worked together and how they effected the eyes or a persons mood. He was a master of his art and brave to focus on just color and its effects. .
16 November 2018
Charlie: This is great art never seen anything like this!
23 September 2018
potato: i dont like it to be honest. it is really simple and anyone can draw different coloured circles
07 July 2018
Leone Brennan: I am completely drawn to this painting. Maybe because it is so childlike, but I just love the colours.
01 June 2018
AR: Many people are commenting on the fact that a child could have done this. This is, to anyone with eyes, true however it is not for the aesthetics that this colour study is so famous, but for its significance. This study was an essential element of Kardinsky's creative process: and it gives us as those who still view his work today an interesting and unique insight into the head of such an incredible man.That is why it's famous.
03 May 2018
SD: Terrible Painting, nothing that a kid can do an art project on. Study DaVinci instead.
07 January 2018
Robert Paige: TOTAL WORK OF ART...6
22 November 2017
Natalie: He is my favorite. His work is absolutely mind boggling to me.
15 November 2017
Samanthalouise Nunn: great picture
15 June 2017
D. E.: How about those of us with a great knowledge of art who realize that a child COULD have done this? It's a colour study. It is not a complete work. It is not a great composition, and was likely done on the fly. A sketch or doodle playing with colour. It is a simple study, done for himself. You or I or a child or anyone CAN do this exact same thing, and it will be just as valid and meaningful.
You may love the work, and you may instill your own meanings connected to it, but that doesn't make anyone else ignorant, or mean that their opinion is less valid. That's the beauty of art, it connects (or not) to each person on their own level. It is not yours (or mine) to define for others. If it is that to you? Then you're missing the point of art completely. And please don't try to teach children that it should mean whatever you see in it. Teach them how colors go together, sure, but don't ruin them by insisting things must be one way, or that their own work and experiments are any less valid than a color study by a dead guy with a name that you personally like. That would be offensive.
If a work has to be explained to be understood? Then the work itself fails. If you have to insist that a work has a certain meaning because you think it does? Then you fail.
26 May 2017
Liza: I do wish people who have no knowledge of art would refrain from making stupid comments like, "a child could have done this." Educate yourselves people and if you don't have anything positive or enlightening to say then just don't.

Kandinsky was an amazing colourist. His compositions are simply inspired. Personally he is one of my favourite artists and I have referenced his work when teaching my primary and secondary school students so that they too can be inspired by a master.
30 April 2017
Some body: This is NOT art, in my opinion. If I had to guess the age that someone drew this, I would say 7.
22 March 2017
Justin Tanner from Latta: Why this is just circules ive got to do an art project on this
09 March 2017
bob from kit: amazing art wish i had some of it
14 February 2017
Tyler Jeffers from New Jersey: This looks like a 2 year old made this
02 January 2017
Anastasia from Yugoslavia: breathtaking
21 May 2016
lola garcia from mexico: what´s mean the colors and the figures to this picture?
12 April 2016
Lumpyspace princess: beautiful
11 January 2016
Someone from somwhere: I like the piece
29 August 2014
MangaQueen02 from Luffyland: What is this art piec by Kandinsky called? Please help.
14 May 2014
Chad: Is this oil on canvas?
06 May 2014
Morgan Mquire from Southampton: I agree with you adam i would love to create a piece like this
06 May 2014
Adam Comber from Southampton: Like the use of harmonious colours within certain squares and contrast in others.
21 April 2013
rose: awesome pic!

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