Wassily Kandinsky: A Master of Color

Contributor: Stefani Allegretti. Lesson ID: 13311

Did you know that some people see color when they hear sound and hear sound when they see color? In this lesson, you'll learn about an artist named Wassily Kandinsky who was able to do just that!


Visual Arts, World

Fine Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Wassily Kandinsky was a unique artist who saw color as sound, and sound as color!

Wassily Kandinsky

Let's learn about this amazing artist!

Wassily Kandinsky was a famous abstract painter from Russia who worked primarily in the first half of the 20th century.

Like many artists, Wassily Kandinsky was an innovator. His curiosity about the connection between music, spirituality, and art led him to become one of the founders of an art form called abstract art or abstract expressionism.

Abstract art doesn't focus on subject matter that exists in the world like nature, people, or objects. Instead, it focuses on color, line, texture, and other elements of design. In art history, the abstract art movement directly followed Cubism and preceded Surrealism.

One of Kandinsky's most known paintings titled Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles is pictured below.

  • Can you see the unique use of color in this painting?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What do you see when you look at this painting?
  • What do you hear when you look at this painting?

Color Study - Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913

Image by Wassily Kandinsky, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

Aside from the various elements of design like shape and color, Kandinsky's work was influenced largely by the exploration and connection between spirituality, music, and painting. He truly saw the world in a different and unique way.

In fact, Kandinsky had a neurological condition called Synesthesia, which caused him to actually see color when he heard sound and hear sound when he saw color. To better understand this condition, read Synesthesia by Psychology Today.

Now, watch the video below to learn more about how Kandinsky saw the world. Take notes on how Kandinsky perceived colors and sounds; particularly green, white, black, warm red, cool red, orange, violet, blue, light blue, dark blue, and darkest blue:

  • Which color represents the harmony of silence?
  • Which color is considered the heavenly color?
  • Which color represents the sad middle tones of a cello?

Get ready to find out!

What Does Colour Sound Like? Kandinsky and Music from Listening In:

Image - Video

The video noted that Kandinsky's Composition VIII, painted in 1923, is considered one of his most musical pieces:

Composition VIII

Image by Wassily Kandinsky, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

  • What musical instruments do you hear when you look at this painting?

Take a moment to reflect. Then, move on to the Got it? section and test your knowledge on this extraordinary artist!

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