In Houses at Murnau or Summer LandscapeWassily Kandinsky unleashes all the colors his eyes captured during his sojourn in Bavaria. The composition and the spreading of the colors remind the viewer of the painterly materiality of Paul Gaugin and all Post-Impressionists. Even more Mediterranean, the few colors are predominantly primary: yellow, blue, and red, with light touches of green. There are no nuances. The intense tonal differences guide Kandinsky. The chromatic breaks delimit the forms by contrasting them with the blue that Kandinsky uses for the shadows. The presence of the drawing lines is light. And where it does appear, it is marked by a black line and camouflaged by dense color strokes.

Houses at Murnau - Kandinsky Artwork
Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bequest of Katharine Kuh/CC0 Public Domain Designation.

Thanks to its subject and the technique’s immediacy, this work by Kandinsky could be juxtaposed with other artworks and different forms.

If Houses at Murnau were a house-shaped mosaic

It could be a composition made of tesserae, articulated in a succession of forms and alternating colors. And thinking of these tesserae in the shape of a house, Summer Landscapes would be the Town Mosaic of Knossos Palace. It’s an assemblage of painted faience plaques, dating back to 1700-1600 B.C., preserved at the Heraklion Museum, in Crete. Perhaps from the decoration of valuable wooden furniture, the mosaic represents a city through tiles of painted faience. Each house is a distinct tile with diversified shapes and patterns.

Town Mosaic Knossos Palace - A detail
Image courtesy of Zde, via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0

…or a colorful board game

Keeping in mind tesserae, and if this artwork were a board game, it would be Kingdomino. Conceived by Bruno Cathala and designed by Cyril Bouquet, it’s a Blue Orange Games’ award-winning. The players create landscapes, outlined them through the alternation of a few chosen colors. Tile after tile, the under-construction kingdom expands with cultivated fields, forests, grasslands, and seas. The main goal is getting the best score, and players can also achieve it by creating a colorful composition, like Kandinsky with his Houses at Murnau.