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Tolstoy & Kandinsky: Music and The Nature of Good Art

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Presentation on theme: "Tolstoy & Kandinsky: Music and The Nature of Good Art"— Presentation transcript:

1 Tolstoy & Kandinsky: Music and The Nature of Good Art
Toby Lee

2 Background on Tolstoy Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Russian
Believed that art served to communicate emotion Theory on art aligns with the Expressionist Movement art Background on Tolstoy

3 Tolstoy’s Theory of Art
Tolstoy states that in spectating a work of art a type of contract always exists between an artist and his or her audience. “Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produced, or is producing, the art, and with all those who, simultaneously, previously, or subsequently receive the same artistic impression.” (49) Tolstoy’s Theory of Art

4 Tolstoy also contends that art is unifying.
“The activity of art is based on the fact that a man, receiving through his sense of hearing or sight another man’s expression of feeling, is capable of experiencing the emotion which moved the man to express it.” (49)

5 Tolstoy emphasizes that the principle characteristic of good art is a kind of conscious and intelligible transmission of emotion from the artist to the audience. “Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man, consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to other’s feelings he has lived through and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.” (51) “Simple music has a far stronger effect. There are composers I must make an effort to understand, but this [simple] music enters the soul.” Tolstoy’s more all-encompassing definition of art allows for a number of different mediums to be considered art so long as they deliberately transmit visceral emotion. Do you think that music is a more fitting vehicle of transmitting emotion than painting? Why or why not?

6 Wassily Kandinsky Kandinsky (1866-1944)
Russian painter and art theorist Pioneer of Abstract art His works of 1913 are considered one of the first manifestations of completely abstracted art in art history Heavily influenced by a love of music Wassily Kandinsky

7 Kandinsky on Music and Emotion
For Kandinsky, the abstraction of form and color was absolutely essential to the transmission of emotion. Kandinsky strove to let the emotion in art speak for speak for itself as opposed to let the harsh realities of realistic form and color distort the emotional output of his work. Kandinsky suggested that music was superior to painting due to it’s inherent abstraction Kandinsky on Music and Emotion

8 Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)
Created in 1911 in Munich, Germany Founded and led by Kandinsky and Franz Marc, a German Expressionist Formed on a premise of creating art that lacked the restrictive components of realistic form and color, in order to allow emotion to be at the forefront of a work Der Blaue Reiter comes from Kandinsky’s painting of the same name created in 1903 Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)

9 Wassily Kandinsky – Der Blaue Reiter
1903 Oil on Canvas 60 cm



12 What emotion did you feel in the three pieces
What emotion did you feel in the three pieces? Did it align with the emotions you felt in looking at Kandinsky’s work? Do you think Kandinsky’s claim regarding music’s supremacy over painting is correct? In regard to Tolstoy’s theory about emotional transferal in art, does one medium of art more effectively conveys emotion? Of the three compositions, did you think any would be considered effective works of art in Tolstoy’s theory? What about one of the three pieces is successful in translating the emotional charge of the artist to the viewer? Concluding Questions

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