The Kandinsky Curriculum

Our seven-year-old daughter loves art.

Our kitchen table, our hallway, our living room coffee table — there is no flat surface in our house that isn’t hidden under a thin layer of drawings she’s doodled. And when we clean them up to try to see the surfaces again, they’ve all been replaced before we can turn around. 

For a seven-year-old, both the thought and the execution of the drawings are remarkable. 

We’re still not quite sure which parent she gets this passion from. But I will say that I could barely churn out a passable, human-looking stick figure at seven years old. (Maybe that’s a good hint.)

Nonetheless, she came home from Grade 2 last week excited about something she’d learned in art class. 

“Do you want to know what I learned about today, daddy?” she quizzed me as she walked through the back door to our house.

I nodded affirmatively but feared hearing about a new way she had learned to draw a person that would only serve to rapidly increase the layers of doodles. 

Sadly, what she shared was much more frightening.

“I learned about Candacki… Candunski… Kandinsky. Kandinsky!”

Our seven-year-old daughter

“I learned about Candacki… Candunski… Kandinsky. Kandinsky!” she exclaimed.

I face-palmed. Hard. 

“Oh boy,” I thought to myself lamenting the elementary school curriculum that brought Kandinsky into my daughter’s life at such a young age.

I knew what was coming for her. 

More importantly, I knew I would need to be there to support her and try to shield her from the onslaught. 

You see, Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow in 1866. He was the son of a tea merchant and a great-grandson of a Mongolian princess. 

He suffered from a neurological condition called synesthesia. Basically, when he heard sound, he saw color and when he saw color, he heard sound. 

Aside from his sheer talent, this condition likely explains why he is widely considered to be the architect of abstract art.

Oh, and Kandinsky also happens to be my wife’s favorite historic artist and a massive inspiration for her own abstract paintings.

Kandinsky’s “Unbroken Line” (1923). One of his most famous paintings.

Despite knowing what was about to be unleashed and acting against my better judgment, I sent her over to her mother to share her artistic discovery, thereby changing the course of her young, malleable life forever.

My wife was over-the-moon happy. The radiant smile and over-the-top twinkles in her eyes told me all I needed to know.

It came faster than a Russian supersonic torpedo. 

Immediately, my wife began sharing the most intricate details about Kandinsky. This conversation had been collecting dust in her brain for years because my wife knew I might fall asleep with any conversation about art history (bless her heart for sparing me).

Unfortunately for our daughter, there was no such mercy. And it was clearly my fault.

For the next hour, my artist wife held court.

I’m not entirely sure our daughter knew what was going on, but she definitely knew her mommy loved this Candacki guy; maybe even more than she loves daddy (especially after her mommy reads this).

As my wife continued her Kandinsky download to my daughter, she pulled out her 200-page textbook devoted entirely to Kandinsky and handed it over.

My wife’s Kandinsky textbook.

Ever since, I’ve been knee deep learning about Kandinsky with my daughter when mom isn’t around.

How else would I know about Kandinsky’s princess ancestry and neurological condition? I didn’t learn about them “for fun.”

Now, however, I’m longing for the days when I had time to clean off our flat surfaces without fear of being pulled into an art history lesson from my daughter’s Kandinsky curriculum.

At least she’s super cute looking at me from behind her purple glasses; and she doesn’t let me nod off either.

“Wake up, daddy!”

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  1. Karen

    Absolutely love it!! 🥰

  2. Donna

    I’m still chuckling! Great read

  3. Buff

    I Love Art History! This story is the absolute best! Love a learning moment🥰