Aesthetically Pleasing

The previous two posts on Kandinsky might draw the objection that his works do have an order, namely beauty or the indefinable feeling of aesthetic quality. That’s a hard point to argue with, but it doesn’t feel like that to me because there are no limits in these works. There could be more lines, or more circles, or more soft shapes or more hard ones. The figures could be grouped in any number of ways, and it wouldn’t really make any difference. This lack of limit or push back is the defining characteristic of the work. I think that beauty cannot be so described. Beauty is ultimately grounded in the human body—in human bodily beauty, or sexual beauty—so its main feature is a sense of rightness. It is nothing other than a limit, but one that we feel before we see or understand. Geometry has no intrinsic limits; beauty is limitation, but that never bothered anyone—except some abstractionists like Kandinsky.

Vassily Kandinsky, On White 1923

Vassily Kandinsky, On White 1923

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