bauhausbuch 09 
punkt und linie zur fläche. 
beitrag zur analyse der malerischen elemente



walter gropius     

l. moholy nagy

I have purposely condensed the questions which I have posed concerning the beginning of the Science of Art, but these questions - when developed consistently - pass beyond the boundaries of painting, and finally of art altogether. Here I seek only to point the way, to establish certain ana­lytical methods and, at the same time, to take synthetic values into account.




Weimar 1923
Dessau 1925



The geometric point is an invisible thing. Therefore, it must be defined as an incorporeal thing. Considered in terms of substance, it equals zero.

Hidden in this zero, however, are various attributes which are »human« in nature. We think of this zero - the geometric point - in relation to the greatest possible brevity, i.e. to the highest degree of restraint which, nevertheless, speaks.

Thus we look upon the geometric point as the ultimate and most singular union of silence and speech.



The geometric line is an invisible thing. lt is the track made by the moving point; that is, its product. lt is created by movement-specifically through the destruction of the intense self-contained repose of the point. Here, the leap out of the static into the dynamic occurs. The line is, therefore, the greatest antithesis to the pictorial proto­element - the point. Viewed in the strictest sense, it can be designated as a secondary element.



Already in the classical ballet form existed »points« - a designated terminology which unquestionably is derived from »point«. The rapid running on the toes leaves behind on the floor a trace of points. The ballet dancer leaps to a point above, clearly aiming at it with his head and, in landing, again contacts a point on the floor. High leaps in the modern dance can, in some cases1 be compared with the »classic« ballet's high leap; that, whereas the leap formerly pointed to a straight, vertical direction1 the »modern« leap frequently forms a five-pointed plane with its five extremities-head, two feet and two hands, whereby the ten fingers form ten smaller points (e.g., the dancer Palucca1 Fig. 9). Further­more, the brief states of rigid immobility can be looked upon as points. Thus we have active and passive point formations which bear a relation­ship to the musical form of the point.



In addition to the beating of the kettle-drum and striking of the triangle, of which we have already spoken, points can be produced in music with all sorts of instruments-especially the percussion instruments. The piano, however, enables the creation of finished compositions exclusively by means of the combination and the sequence of tonal points.



The term »Basic Plane« is understood to mean the material plane which is called upon to receive the content of the work of art. lt will be designated here by BP. The schematic BP is bounded by 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines, and is thereby set off as an individual thing in the realm of its surroundings.


wassily kandinsky:


why does the circle fascinate me?


it is


1. the most modest form, but asserts itself recklessly

2. precise, but inexhaustably variable

3. stable and unstable at the same time

4. quiet und loud at the same time

5. eine a tension which bears in it countless tensions.


the circle is a synthesis of greatest contrasts. It combines the concentric with the eccentric of one form in equilibrium. Of the three primary forms it is the clearest indication of the fourth dimension.


The substance of art is romanticism and it is our own fault if we mistake one image of time for a whole concept. Please do not tell me that this concept is stretched too far … until now I have called certain things »lrical triangle« (for which I have had to listen to incredible insults from the press); »lyric structure« etc.

The old fissure between these two concepts is no longer present: where does one draw the line between lyricism and romanticism? the circle … can occasionally be characterized as nothing but romantic. And the coming romanticism is, in fact, deep, beautiful … significantly auspicious – a block of ice with a burning flame inside.







howard dearstyne

tr: hilla rebay


bauhaus book 09


point and line to plan: contribution to the analysis of the pictorial elements 


howard dearstyne

tr: hilla rebay


bauhaus bookshelf