Art and Images in Psychiatry
June 2007

Composition VI

Author Affiliations



Copyright 2007 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2007

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64(6):630. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.64.6.630

The violins, the deep tones of the basses, and especially the wind instruments . . . I saw all my colors in my mind; they stood before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me. . . . Wagner had painted “my hour” musically.—Kandinsky on hearing Wagner's Lohengrin, 18961(p364)

In 1889, Russian law student Vasily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was sent by the Society of Natural Science, Anthropology, and Ethnography to the remote northern Russian province of Vologda to study peasant criminal law, religion, and culture.1 He entered peasant homes where, surrounded by brightly colored folk pictures of battles and heroes and brightly lit images of saints, he absorbed himself,1(p369) entering a picture-book world feeling just as he had felt when visiting the cathedral in Moscow. This 2-month visit to rural Russia was to prove pivotal for his subsequent career as an artist.

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