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V.V. Kandinsky. Not later than 1885. Main Archive of Moscow

The Glavarkhiv contains materials from the Imperial Moscow University. In particular, the student’s personal file.

Documents will tell about the Moscow stage of Wassily Kandinsky’s life, when he was not yet an artist Main Archive of Moscow… These are, first of all, the materials of the Imperial Moscow University (now the Lomonosov Moscow State University) – the student’s personal file and information about his passing exams.

Thanks to the preserved copy of Kandinsky’s birth certificate, it is possible to document the place and date of his birth, estate and names of his parents. It is known from the birth record that the future artist was born on December 16 (December 4, old style), 1866. His parents are Lydia Kandinskaya and Wassily Kandinsky, a Nerchinsk factory hereditary honorary citizen. At the time of the birth of their son, the couple lived in Moscow.

After traveling to European countries and Russia, the Kandinsky family stopped in Odessa. Here in 1885 Vasily graduated from the gymnasium. The certificate of graduation from the 3rd Odessa gymnasium was also preserved in his student case. It can be seen from the document that Kandinsky studied medium – there is not a single A in the certificate. However, the grades did not prevent him from applying for admission to the law faculty of the Imperial Moscow University. The young man was admitted in the same year, but poor health prevented successful studies.

In September 1889, he applied for permission to travel abroad for medical treatment. A certificate issued by Grigory Rossolimo, a doctor of medicine at the university, said that Kandinsky suffers from severe faintness, or neurasthenia, for the treatment of which an absolute month’s rest and sea bathing are required in one of the coastal cities of Western Europe.

In the same year, Wassily Kandinsky went to his parents, having completed only four years of university. Later, in 1892, he still received his diploma, after in 1891 he passed the exam in the legal testing commission of the university and became a full-fledged graduate.

Throughout his studies, Vasily Kandinsky was always supported by Alexander Chuprov, Professor of the Department of Political Economy and Statistics. Perhaps thanks to him, the future famous artist was left at this department of the university to write a dissertation. Chuprov’s instruction to Kandinsky has survived, in which the professor indicates that a young scientist should begin his studies by studying the main economic theories in their historical sequence. Alexander Chuprov wrote that it would be desirable for Kandinsky to choose one of the major departments of applied or theoretical economics for special study.

But Wassily Kandinsky’s academic career did not work out. After visiting an exhibition of the Impressionists held in Moscow in the mid-1890s, he finally decided to change his field of activity. And I was not mistaken – the whole world Kandinsky is known precisely as an artist who stood at the origins of abstract art.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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