How does music play in the colorful pioneering direction of modern painting

How does music play in the colorful pioneering direction of modern painting

It was Frida Kahlo’s interest in Mexican heritage, Salvador Dalí’s deep subconsciousness, or as painter Paul Klee for his musical background.

Combined with artistic influences, Paul Klee’s knowledge of music allowed him to develop a unique, one-of-a-kind style. Here, let explore the life of an artist and his unique work to illustrate his undeniable impact on modern art.


Polyphony (Contrast), 1932 (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Who is Paul Klee?


Photo of Paul Klee, 1911 by photographer Alexander Eliasberg (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Paul Klee (1879-1940) is a German Swiss artist. Participated in and influenced by a number of different movements – including Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism – Klee has conquered many disciplines of the arts, including drawing, engraving and embossing. The most famous is painting. Likewise, he uses incredible materials to create mixed-media works that combine a variety of materials and painting methods (from canvas and cardboard to foil and fabric) instead. for following only one fixed style and using a single material.

His novel approach to art earned him a job teaching at Bauhaus – a famous university in Germany founded by architect Walter Gropius in 1919. This was the first school to train in Public Fine Arts industry, the center of the modern school and the place where the idea for the birth of Functionalism was born. During the 10-year period of teaching and guiding bookbinding, stained-glass and mural painting, he developed a unique technique, associated with his later name. Art historian Richard Dorment explains: “Klee begins every picture with an abstract image – square, triangle, circle, line or dot – and then allows that motif to grow or develop, almost like a living organism. “.


Fish Magic, 1925 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Dorment was not the only one who considered Klee’s painting as a living being. In fact, Klee himself shared: “I have always considered a painting as a living being, with the same skeleton, with muscles and skin like a human. One can talk about the specific anatomical structure of a painting. A picture represents ‘a body.’ ‘nudity’ is not created by the laws of anatomy, but only by the laws of anatomy. “

While Klee takes an anatomical approach to composition, the content of his works comes from an unrelated field: music.

Music background


In the Style of Black, 1919. Photo:

Like many other famous artists, Klee was born into a family of creative work. However, unlike most of his colleagues, Klee’s parents were not experts in fine arts, painting, or sculpture; instead, they are more music oriented. Specifically, his father is a music teacher, and his mother is a singer.

Initially, he was directed towards the karma of his parents. As a child, Klee developed an interest in classical music, with the works of composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are among his favorites. At the age of seven, he started playing the violin, culminating in becoming a violinist for the Bern Symphony Orchestra when he was in his 20s.

Despite the promising path opened up for Klee, he decided to give up a career in music and instead pursue painting, although music remained an important inspiration for much of his career. he. In 1905, almost a decade after his decision to redirect, he revealed: “More and more similarities between music and graphic arts affect my consciousness.”

The relationship between music and painting is realized by the painter through pictures directly related to music. For example, in the picture In the Style of Bach (1919), Klee reimagined the music as an arrangement of graphic symbols such as foliage, crescent moon, and stars. However, in addition to decoding the structural similarities between music and art, Klee discovered a deeper interdisciplinary relationship when he began to explore color theory.

Color theory


Artwork Ad Parnassum, 1932 (Image: Wiki Art Commons)

In 1914, Klee traveled to Tunisia. Inspired by the vibrancy of the surrounding landscape, it was here that he made his biggest artistic breakthrough: the emphasis on color. “Color has taken possession of me; I no longer have to chase it, I know it has taken over me forever,” he said. “Color and I’m one. I’m an artist.”

A few years later, he was devoted to research and tinkering about colors. While teaching at Bauhaus, he did “developed his own color theory based on a six-part rainbow formed in a color wheel,” Bauhaus100 explained. “He arranged complementary colors based on the motion of the interaction between them, which shows that the theory is based on motion transitions.”

By combining his unique approach to color with the musical background, the artist has established a style entirely of his own. Some of his works – like Polyphony (1932), painting explores musical textures through tonal blocks and Harmony in Blue-Orange (1923), the work incorporates complementary colors as if they were musical notes – directly implying both elements. However, many of his most famous works – including the Magic Fish (1925) and To the Parnassus (1932) – demonstrate his harmonious approach to color theory without specific reference, demonstrated his ability to “improvise freely on color keyboards”.

Paul Klee today


Photo: Flickr

Today, Klee is known as a master of both modern color and form. In recent years, his unique works are constantly being researched and analyzed, culminating in highly anticipated exhibitions around the world. Featured is the exhibition Paul Klee. Irony at Work at Pompidou National Center of Arts and Culture in Paris, France or exhibitions Paul Klee – Making Visible at Tate Modern Art Museum in London, UK.

In addition to the museum, Klee’s legacy can be found in the classrooms. In the mid-20th century, his lectures at Bauhaus university were compiled into a two-volume volume and published under the title. Writings on Form and Design Theory (Morphology and Design Theory Articles), and The Paul Klee Notebooks (Paul Klee’s notebook). Like a book A Treatise on Painting by Leonardo and described by renowned art historian Herbert Read as “the most complete presentation of design principles ever made by a modern artist”, Paul Klee Notebooks remains a resource important to contemporary creations – in fine arts and beyond.

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