The Blue Rider or Der Blaue Reitler (1903) by Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was a Russian painter and an art theorist who was also a pioneer of abstract art. He was born in Moscow and spent his childhood in Odessa, where he completed his graduation from Grekov Odessa Art School. He later completed his studies in law and economics, in which he gained a lot of success. He was offered the role of professor at many prominent universities, which he rejected. His passion for painting and sketching started at the age of 30.

The Blue Raider is a landscape painting which represents warm and earthy tones. At the very first sight, it looks grainy but the light green tones near the horse captivates the eye. The earthy tones feel welcoming and make me want to understand the depth of the painting. Clearly, he wanted to showcase the urban lifestyle of the time. The shadows in the painting depict that it was a sunny day. The various shades of green portray his deep love for nature. The background appears to be filled with greenery. The foreground is a beautiful meadow, bright as the day. He has also used contrasting colours like blue and brown through which he painted clouds and a building. The line leading towards the buildings catches the eye, right after the horse. The painting depicts a scene where a man wearing a blue coat or cloak is riding a horse. It seems like the man is in a rush as the painter has made the horse look like he is speeding. In the foreground are more blue shadows signifying the purity of the nature. The rider appears to be carrying a child in his arms, but that remains unclear.

This breakthrough work is a deceptively simple image, a landscape painting representing a decisive moment in Kandinsky’s developing style. In this painting, he demonstrated a stylistic link to the work of the Impressionists, particularly evident in the light and dark shades used in the hillside. The obscurity of the form of figure on horseback is portrayed in a variety of colours that blend well, depicting his interest in abstraction. The theme of the horse and rider is later seen in many of his artworks. In this painting, the rider doesn’t appear clearly due to vague detailing and mismatch of colours.

The unclear description of the rider clearly shows Kandinsky’s interest in the abstraction. This canvas signified Wassily’s resistance against the conventional aesthetic values. His artwork is always open to interpretation.

The Blue Rider is not considered a remarkable painting by various art theorists but is an important link between post-impressionism and expressionism. Therefore, it is one of the most vital and a magnificent artwork made by Kandinsky as an artist.

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