Light, color and vision
Color interactions: Simultaneous contrast
Peripheral vision
Luminance and equiluminance
Related pages: Modern art and vision  ·  Bridget Riley    « »
    Modern art and vision



Monet’s "Haystacks" played a crucial role in the emergence of modern art... and inspried Vasily Kandinsky to create a series of abstract compositions, including this "Composition V," 1911.

In 1896, Kandinsky saw Monet’s "Haystacks" in an exhibition that travelled to St. Petersburg. Monet’s paintings changed his life. He wrote:

"The painting showed itself to me in all its fantasy and all its enchantment. Deep within me the first doubt arose about the the importance of the object as a necessary element in a picture."

The object is not fixed and fixed objects are not essential. In 1910, only 14 years later, Kandinsky was among the first to paint a completely abstract painting.

Modern art is filled with stories of inspiration from the past. Newton’s ideas about color inspired a modern series of paintings by Frantisek Kupka. And perhaps under the stimulus of Goethe in 1910-11, Franz Marc painted his god Russi as seen through a prism, and he recorded colored fringes at the junctions of light and dark.

"Disks of Newton," Frantisek Kupka, 1912. Kupka’s white segments may refer to the mixture of all colors to white in a spinning disc.


Franz Marc’s painting of his dog Russi, 1910-11. He explained that this is a study in the contrasts between yellow, white, and blue.

< Previous       Next >

  Bibliography   Credits & feedback