Beauty In Kandinsky's Definition Of Beauty

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Beauty has long been an essential term in the conversation about art. In all artistic media, beauty is used as a qualification of value; a musical composition can be beautiful, as can a shot in a film or the draping of fabric in a garment. Kandinsky’s essay, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, is no exception when it comes to using beauty as a term to qualify the value of art. His essay focuses on visual art and the way that colors and forms interact with the human soul to evoke emotional responses. However, in the essay, Kandinsky utilizes beauty in multiple ways to argue numerous different and contrary points in his argument about what defines good art, leaving the reader confused as to whether beauty is a positive quality of art or a superficial…show more content…
Kandinsky here states that pursuing beauty will make art fit only for meaningless decoration of commercial items. Aiming for beauty alone, Kandinsky says, restricts humanity from understanding the true purpose of color and form and from reaching point of harmony. In these two passages, beauty is both a superficial quality and a distracting and restrictive characteristic. This use of beauty, though so far consistent, still manages to perplex the reader. Outside the realm of Kandinsky’s essay, beauty is synonymous with goodness; it is a positive attribute, one to seek out in the world. It is therefore perplexing that Kandinsky here undermines the association of beauty and goodness. Furthermore, in the greater world, beauty has a multitude of definitions, each with subtle differences that distinguish them. Because of the fact that none of the many working definitions of beauty which exist outside of Kandinsky’s essay align with the way beauty is presented here, along with the lack of a definitive definition of the beauty which Kandinsky utilizes in these examples, he cannot use it to qualify art, even in the negative…show more content…
He says,

¶ 12Leave a comment on paragraph 120 “I am using the former to mean ‘outer need,’ which never goes beyond conventional limits, nor produces other than conventional beauty. The ‘inner need’ knows no such limits, and often produces results conventionally considered ‘ugly.’ But ‘ugly’ itself is a conventional term, and only means ‘spiritually unsympathetic,’ being applied to some expression of an inner need, either outgrown or not yet attained. But everything which adequately expresses the inner need is beautiful” (VI.42 footnote).

¶ 13Leave a comment on paragraph

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