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

Review of Piero Mioli, in Musica e Scuola, XI, 3, 1997, pp.15

After Faubion Bowers’s Skrjabin, published by Gioiosa, Kandinskij e Skrjabin by Luigi Verdi (Akademos and Lim) is an relevant contribution to the small-size Italian bibliography on the singular Russian maestro, by means of a consistent comparison between the great painter who contemporary to him (not without a new translation of critical passages). The two artists did not personally know each other, but the meeting points between their arts were and are evident, even apart from the fact that the painter had studied music and used to play both the piano and the cello. Kandinskij used to name some paintings of his as compositions or improvisations (one of them was even named Fugue): in turn, Skrjabin, who was not so accustomed to terms relative to painting, nevertheless said that “music takes shape and meaning only when it is linked to a unique universal plane”, had several contacts with intellectuals and artists of the symbolist circle (a poet said “all of his music is light itself”), and he deeply felt the esoteric influences of theosophy and anthroposophy. As a matter of fact, the relation between sound and colour was substantial in the two artists: Kandinskij wrote that painting can be perceived not only by the eyes, but by all the five senses, and in Skrjabin’s Prometheus, frequently mentioned by the painter, the scale sounds are all associated with colours (from  red Do, to orange-pink Sol, from yellow Re to green La, and so on). In the end, this careful study always involves the Russian experiences of the early 20th century which were definitely fundamental for all the culture of the century, and , being a matter of colours, it is also complete with several clarifying images.

Piero Mioli



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