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Hilma af Klint - The spiritualist who initiated abstract art

You might have not heard of her, but Hilma af Klint is the person -the woman- who painted fully abstract works, even before Wassily Kandinsky took credit for this kind of practice. She was a spiritualist and she painted the universe and the divine most abstractly. 


Her works are open for interpretation since they could depict something so small as a molecule or as big as the universe itself. But who was Hilma af Klint and how did she come to be one of the most important personalities amongst the mystic artists?


She started practicing spiritualism when she was very young. Later, he became very interested in the concepts of Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, and Anthroposophy. These ways of connecting with the spiritual world were very popular in Europe, especially among artists and writers, since people were trying to find a balance between their religious beliefs and discoveries in science at that time.


She tried to show her paintings to the common people, but her chances were in vain. Her notes show that she thought the world wasn't ready for the message they were meant to send. Only people who were interested in spirituality knew about these works and appreciated them.




She studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts and during her academic years, she became friends with Anna Cassel. Together with three other women, they formed a group called The Five, which focused on exploring spiritual worlds through meditation and seances. Other people in the group were Cornelia Cederberg, Sigrid Hedman, and Mathilda Nilsson. The Five claimed to receive messages from important spirits called The High Masters, between 1896 and 1908. The group thought they could talk to special beings named Amaliel, Ananda, and Gregor, who were said to be messengers from The High Masters. They believed they could write and draw messages from these beings while in a trance-like state.


In 1904, af Klint wrote in her notebooks that a spirit guide told her she would need to paint the spiritual world, and that this was her calling. She made 193 paintings from 1906 to 1915, called "Paintings for the Temple. " Af Klint wanted these paintings to be displayed in a round building with a spiral path that would take people up, similar to the Guggenheim museum where her art was shown over 100 years later. Covered in shapes and colors, these paintings were meant to make people feel like they were in a different world.


In 1907, af Klint said she got a celestial message telling her to be the leader of The Five. The other four people didn't agree with the new “rule”, so the group fell apart and stopped working together. From then on, af Klint focused on her most important projects, such as the aforementioned “Paintings for the Temple” and “The Ten Largest”.

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