The artist's Russian roots would inspire much of his early career and nowhere is that more evident than in this artwork. Here we find a vibrant cityscape with bright colour and a canvas full of detail. It is as if the buildings have come alive, jumping out of the constraints of normal perspective. We can recognise the city of Moscow from the pointed tops of some of the buildings, though our knowledge of the artist's background also helps us to understand some of his abstract forms. Besides the architecture, there is also an expressive sky scene that includes some minimalist birds that just help us to understand the overall layout. Kandinsky loved to work within abstract styles but would normally include enough recognisable detail to at least allow us a starting point from which to then identify other elements within each painting. Without that, we would really be stuck.
Moscow I (Red Square) has proven to be amongst the artist's most popular paintings, even though during his own lifetime is was not particularly well known. It is perhaps the recognisable element of this attractive city that allows us to enjoy this abstract style whilst also understanding just precisely what we are looking at. One might compare it to Castle and Sun by Paul Klee, for example, or perhaps Picasso's Mediterranean Landscape. The way in which Kandinsky captures the city is to stand centrally and then turn from the middle of the square, capturing each of the major monuments to be found here. He also was quoted discussing this painting as well as his love for the city of Moscow soon after completing it in 1916. Whilst he embraced his life in Germany, he would never lose this strong connection.
Head to The State Tretyakov Gallery in order to see this painting in person. Whilst in the city of Moscow, you can also learn more about the different items within this painting, most of which still remain there today within this culturally and historically significant city. The gallery itself is centrally placed and proves amongst the more popular art venues of all those on offer here. They hosts a good collection of Russian art dating back many centuries, even beyond the Renaissance era. You will find plenty of realism here, which is a movement in which Russia has impressed, as well as some sculpture too. Religious Procession in Kursk Province by Ilya Repin, Morning in a Pine Forest by Ivan Shishkin and Konstantin Savitsky plus Kazimir Malevich's Black Square are a few of the highlights to look out for here.