Kandinskij e Skrjabin. Realtà e Utopia nella Russia pre-rivoluzionaria, Lucca, Akademos & Lim 1996, 195 pp.

PRESENTATION: Bologna, Sala Mozart, 23 May 1996.

Giornale della Musica, 120, ottobre 1996 (Maria Girardi).
Suonare News, luglio/agosto 1996, pp.55 (Alice Bertolini).
Alla Ribalta, giugno 1996, pp.13-14 (Alessandra Doria).
Civiltà musicale, 25, XI, 3, 1996, pp.88 (Piero Santi).
Musica e Scuola, XI, 3, 1997, pp.15 (Piero Mioli).
Rivista Italiana di Musicologia, XXXII, 1997, pp.178-81 (Donata Brugioni).
Antroposofia. Rivista di scienza dello spirito, maggio-giugno 2007 (Emanuela Portalupi)

Kandinskij e SkrjabinThe Russian cultural life of the early years of 1900s, seen through the work of such two artists as Skrjabin and Kandinskij, who from many sides are emblematic of that time, appears to be as a fundamental and crucial moment for so many following artistic experiences. The relationship between music and painting is the guiding principle through which the study develops, from synaesthesia to the fusion of the arts, to the theorization of the “Whole Work of Art”. The many quotations throughout the text derive mostly from foreign language bibliographic material. Hence the necessity of a  translation work on the texts which, except for the cases where an Italian version (as specified in the notes) was available, the author has done personally. The book is divided in three parts, each one including seven chapters, as if to point out, even in its partition, the importance of numerical symbols in Skrjabin’s and Kandinskij’s work. The text begins with a general introduction while, in the Conclusion, a few artistic events parallel to Skrjabin’s and Kandinskij’s are better outlined, so as to confirm the influence of their thought all over 20th century’s art.



Russian cultural life between 19th and 20th centuries


At the origins

1. Skrjabin and Kandinskij
2. Kandinskij and Russia
3. Skrjabin and the symbolistic poetic language
4. The Russian cultural atmosphere at the beginning of 20th century as from Kandinskij’s and Skrjabin’s writings
5. The new spiritual arrangement
6. Esoteric influences: theosophy and anthroposophy
7. Skrjabin and the esoteric schools

Sounds and colours

8. Aspects of synaesthetic phenomenon
9. About spiritual in art and The blue knight
10. The relationship sound-colour in Skrjabin and Kandinskij
11. Skrjabin’s Prometheus: problems in the performances
12. A proposal for a graphic representation of Prometheus
13. Interpretation of the Light role in Prometheus according to Kandinskij’s  The Language of Colours
14. The symbolic meaning of colours

Synthesis among the arts

15. The Whole Work of Art
16. The significance of dance
17. The role of dance in the Whole Work of Art
18. The role of the theatre
19. The art of words
20. Kandinskij’s scene  compositions
21. The role of architecture

In the margin

22. Affinity of the artists of the “silver age”
23. Skrjabin’s influence in post-revolutionary Russia
24. The research work on the relation sound-colour at Bauhaus
25. The relation sound-colour in a few 20th century’s composers

Essential bibliography

Index of names


The years included between the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century were strongly pervaded by a sense of escathological expectation, which found full expression in the symbolistic artists’ thought and aesthetics. They considered art as the essential core to human activity: with its force it was summoned to regenerate and to enlighten the whole mankind. Both Skrjabin and Kandinskij belonged to this world all aiming at the assertion of a new spiritual order, imbued with mysticism and influenced by the occult sciences: in order to be fully understood, their works have to be framed within the general cultural and artistic atmosphere of that time which, although being accused of “decadence”, “was  one of the most intense and productive in the Russian culture, so that even today neither its factual knowledge nor its knowledge in depth  cannot be considered as completed”. During the so called “silver age” of Russian art, involving approximately thirty years from 1895 to 1925, literary and philosophical, artistic and musical research developed uniformly, even though in a great variety of experiences; among them, such a thick network of relation was established so as, far from making single arts less autonomous, to provide them with instruments of expression which were more suited to the renewed cultural atmosphere.

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About the same topic:

La sinestesia nella poetica di Skrjabin, di Cristina Ceroni
The mythical time in Scriabin, di Lia Tomás


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