Around The Circle (1940 ), one of Vasily Kandinksy’s last major paintings, is a milestone in the artist’s circular journey. It reflects not only contemporary concerns but also his abiding interest in the belief systems and folklore of Russian and Siberian cultures. The dominant red circle at top center; the form cresting the undulating lines of “sacred waters” below; and a third, upside-down stylized humanoid form at bottom right have all been interpreted as potential allusions to shamans, or spiritual leaders and healers, in states of transformation.
At bottom left, a lunar orb glows in the expanse beyond an open doorway, which is connected to a set of stairs with no physical support. This could be a portal to the cosmos, or some otherwise indeterminant space beyond the picture plane, in a probable nod to alternate dimensions or to the capacity for mystical ascendance.
Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.