Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutch-American painter who helped develop abstract art in the 20th century. His works reflect his beliefs in the philosophy of Theosophy to which he converted between 1907 and 1910. According to the teachings of theosophy, all conscious being is in the process of evolving themselves to a higher state of being. Theosophists thus believe in the existence of ascended masters. These superhumans have outgrown the need for a physical body but choose to remain on earth in a physical form to aid in the spiritual progress of other people. ~Theosophy is concerned with revealing the truth behind all religions by explaining the scheme of evolution of souls as well as of other bodies in the universe (Leadbeater, 2004). The impact of this philosophy is seen in his paintings becoming increasingly abstract. Examples of his painting that reveal his belief in philosophy profoundly are those on neoplasticism which is geometrical abstract. Neo-plasticism refers to the abstract ideal of universal harmony. His simplified paintings in which there are rectangles in primaries, white, black and gray, seek to reflect a mystical pursuit of the absolute. Some associations can be clearly identified in his paintings. For example, the rectangle signifies purity and an overall simplicity in the painting displays a spiritual ideal. His abstract paintings make use of simple primary colors and shades of black and white; exhibit a sense of aesthetic balance and harmony, and they are characterized by being reductionist, minimalist and by having no jarring elements. The message seems to be to “Take little – Give back much” and to “Live simply so more can simply live”. 'Broadway Boogie-Woogie' is considered by many to be Mondrian's masterpiece that expresses his Theosophical beliefs and ideas perfectly. It shows an intricate lattice made from the primary colors. It consists of larger squares than in his previous paintings and the lines are made from adjoining rectangles rather than solid lines as such.
Herwitz, Daniel. Making theory/constructing art: On the authoriity of the avant-garde. University of Chicago Press. 1996. Print.
Leadbeater, C. W. A textbook of theosophy. IndyPublish. 2004. Print.
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