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On Spiritual Art: Kandinsky’s Nietzschean Legacy

Flitton, Lucy (2022) On Spiritual Art: Kandinsky’s Nietzschean Legacy. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

The 19th century German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is generally perceived as a great critic of Christianity. However, various texts of his suggest that he was in fact viewed as a spiritual figure among various literary figures during the first decades of the 20th century. The present research project therefore explores this notion by identifying Friedrich Nietzsche’s spiritualities. Furthermore, this research investigated how Nietzsche’s spiritualities influenced the development of the early twentieth century abstract expressionist painter and art theorist, Wassily Kandinsky’s theory of art. Therefore, a textual analysis of specific Nietzschean texts was conducted in order to specifically identify spiritual elements, and how these were interpreted by Kandinsky in his paintings. A visual analysis of specific abstract paintings by Kandinsky was conducted in order to demonstrate how Kandinsky responded to Nietzsche’s spirituality in his paintings. An examination of Kandinsky’s theoretical works in which he explains the development of his paintings was also carried out. This investigation identified that the Austrian theosophist Rudolf Steiner’s knowledge of Nietzsche also had an indirect influence on the development of Kandinsky’s theory of art, which was obtained by reading Steiner’s primary texts and articles. The completion of this whole exploration demonstrated that to understand Kandinsky’s visual art, one needs to understand how Kandinsky’s spiritual art was drawn from Nietzsche.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Digital, Technologies and Arts > English, Creative Writing and Philosophy
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2023 16:22
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2023 16:36

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