Little Painting with Yellow (1914)  by Wassily Kandinsky

Little Painting with Yellow


Oil on canvas

31.1 × 39.4" (79.0 × 100.0 cm)

Philadelphia. Philadelphia Museum of Art

This picture is referred to the latest improvisations in which objects are practically lacking. This is a purely abstract work. It was painted in Munich not long before the outbreak of World War I, which made the painter return to Russia.

Art critics like to say that the rising political instability of the years preceding the war and premonition of an impending disaster could not but affect the creative work of the artist. Really, the Judgment Day and the Apocalypse themes are frequent subjects of Kandinsky’s works of the pre-war period. There is a well-grounded opinion that his famous Composition VII is really a quintessence of his several previous works, including on apocalyptic and biblical subjects.

They may be right. It’s fairly possible to read the premonition of the war in this emotional whirl of colours. And it is also possible to see the feeling of coming love. What, for example, does the word “Yellow” included in the title mean? And who can know what takes place in the artist’s heart, no matter the whole world around him flying into an abyss? Often even he cannot answer this question.

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