Cossacks Wassily Kandinsky Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This breathtaking abstract scene from Wassily Kandinsky was completed in 1910/11 and features a number of items which even the untrained eye can immediately spot. Rolling hills, the outlines of buildings, flying birds and of course the central rainbow are all constructed from minimal lines of abstract art.

The more detailed image at the bottom of this page reveals three cossacks, two of whom hold long lances which spread across the length of the canvas. Their red hats help us to identify them within this highly abstract form. To see the third cossack without a lance would suggest that he was himself in command. Cossacks at this time were revered across Imperial Russia and helped to defend the nation against the approaches of Napoleon France. They almost had a cult following and were an integral part of the nation's culture. There are additional coassacks added to the top of the canvas, upon the hill in the background.

The style found here is a combination of two different phases of Kandinsky's career, namely his figurative portraits and also his more abstact forms. This was an artist in constant development and experimentation. He produced the painting in Munich, but had clearly lost none of his affection for his native Russia at this point. It was essentially a nostalgic piece that would soon be left behind by the political turmoil in his country of birth. There were many artists who made the move from Russia across to the West, particularly France, Germany and the USA. Artistic expression was something that these creative people could never live without.

The original painting is now owned by the Tate, a major art institution within the UK. They have currently put this piece on display at one of their galleries in Liverpool, in the north of England. At the time of writing, it can be found in Riverside Level One part of the building. It sits alongside work by related artists such as Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich. Tate Modern in London recently featured a huge retrospective of Malevich's own paintings which drew huge crowds to the capital for this three month exhibition of abstract genius.

Cossacks in Detail Wassily Kandinsky