Life in color

Color kaleidoscope

Wassily Kandinsky color theory

Comet, 1900. Wassily Kandinsky color theory

Wassily Kandinsky color theory. Comet, 1900 Painting

Wassily Kandinsky color theory
Experiments with color attracted the famous Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky since childhood. In his landscapes reality replaces the game of lines and color accents. In his book “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” (published in 1910), the artist describes his perception, attitude and feelings about color, one by one – from green, white, black to red, brown, crimson, orange and purple. “When perceiving a color image (pictures, articles) – one feels the direct physical impact. There is a feeling of joy, satisfaction or a sense of irritation, rejection. But there is also another effect of color – mental.

Green, 1931

Green, 1931. Wassily Kandinsky color theory


“I could compare completely green with a calm, broaching, middle tones of a violin.”
“The deep green leaves behind a feeling of a new expectation of vigorous fire.”


“The white color affects our psyche as a great silence, which is for us absolutely. Internally, it sounds like a no-sound, which is quite closely matches a pause in the music … This silence is not dead, it is full of possibilities. White sounds as the silence that can suddenly be understood. White is nothing, or more precisely – is nothing pre-primary, before the birth of things. So, maybe, sounded the land during the Ice Age.”


“Black inner sounds like nothing without chance, both dead. Nothing after the extinction of the sun, as an eternal silence without hope and a future. Present in music, black is a full final pause, after which the continuation is like the beginning of a new world, because through this hiatus is completed. It finished forever – full circle.”

“Black is something extinct, like burned-out campfire, something motionless as a corpse, indifferent to everything going on and accepting nothing. It is like the silence of the body after death, after the cessation of life.”

“From the outside, the black color is the most noiseless paint, against which every other color, even the least sound, sounds and therefore stronger and more accurate. Not the case with white, against which almost all the colors lose their clarity and some completely melt, leaving a weak, exhausted sound.”

“No wonder the pure joy and spotless cleanliness clothed in white robes, and the greatest and deepest sorrow – black, black is a symbol of death.”

“The balance of these two colors, occurs by mechanical mixing, forming a gray color. It is natural that born this way paint can’t give external sound and movement. Gray is soundless and motionless, but this stillness is of a different nature than the rest green. Gray .. so there is hopeless immobility. ”

“The darker the gray, the more overweight is suffocating hopelessness. When the paint highlights include something like the air, the possibility of breathing, and this creates a certain element of the hidden hope.”

“The material form the red color is very rich and varied. Just imagine all the tones from light to dark red Saturn, cinnabar red, english red, madder! This color sufficiently has the ability to maintain its basic tone and at the same time to impress with the characteristic warm or cold paint.”

“Bright warm red (Saturn) has a certain similarity with the medium-yellow … and causes a feeling of strength, energy, commitment, determination, joy, triumph (noisy), and so it resembles the sound of musical fanfares with overtones of the pipe – persistent, haunting, powerful tone.”

“Red in satisfactory condition, vermilion, acquires permanence acute sense, it is like a uniformly burning passion; it is self-confident power that is not easy to drown, but that can pay off in blue, like red-hot iron – cool water. This red color does not tolerate anything cold and loses cooling in sound and content.”

“Compared with the yellow, Saturn and cinnabar in nature are similar, but striving to person much less. This red burns, but mostly in itself; it is almost completely devoid of some crazy nature yellow. Therefore, this color enjoys, maybe more love than yellow. It is willingly and often used in primitive folk ornaments, national costumes.”

“Blackout with black is dangerous as dead black extinguishes burning and reduces it to a minimum. But in this case, appears a stupid, cruel, a little prone to motion brown color in which red sounds like a barely audible boiling.”

“Nevertheless, this external sound turns into internally powerful sound. When properly used brown paint produces indescribable inner beauty, self-restraint. Cinnabar red sounds like a tuba, then you can draw a parallel with strong drum beats.”

“In a dark red felt an element of physicality. This color is reminiscent of medium and low sounds of the cello bearing element of passion. When the cold red bright, it gets even more physicality, but the physicality of pure and sounds like pure youthful joy, like a fresh, young completely clean image of a girl. This way you can easily transfer music with clean, clear singing sound of the violin. ”

Crimson. Clean, cheerful, often successive sounds of bells (and horse bells) are called in Russian “Crimson ring”. This color is becoming intense but with a touch of white paint – a favorite color of the dress of young girls.”


“Warm red, intensified akin to yellow, orange gives you … It looks like a man convinced of his own abilities and the feeling of so exceptional health. This color sounds like a medium-sized church bell calling to prayer” Angelus”, or as Viola strong voice as alto violin, singing Largo.”


“As the orange color occurs by bringing a red-to-person, as violet, having a tendency to move away from the person, is the result of displacement of the red blue. But it is red, the underlying must be cold, because the heat of red prevents mixing with blue cold (any way) – this is also true in the spiritual.”

“So, the purple color is chilled red, both physically and psychologically. It has therefore the character of something painful, extinct (coal slag!), brings something sad. It is no accident, this color is considered suitable for dresses of old women. The Chinese have used it for mourning garments. Its sound is similar to the sound of the English horn, flute, and in its depths – with low tones of wood instruments (eg bassoon)”…

Wassily Kandinsky color theory