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Itten: Why is he interesting?
From 1919 to 1922 the school was largely driven by the theoretic and aesthetic force of Johannes Itten, who taught the innovative preliminary course that was the introduction to the ideas of the Bauhaus. Itten understood that 'we do our very best in all things when the whole body has the correct balance of strength and relaxation and the mind is concentrating fully'. Physical exercises and meditation such as deep breathing, resonating and yoga were included in his curriculum, along with mandatory exploration of form, colour, rhythm and texture. This gained him a significant student following.
As well as his holistic teaching methods, Itten was one of the first to define and identify strategies for successful colour combinations. He established a structural approach to the study and use of colour based primarily on the light-dark opposition. The cold-warm contrast is probably the most important. The red-yellow colour range is warm and the blue-green range is cool. Influenced by avant-garde Expressionism and Cubism, Itten believed in keeping his teaching methods pure and simple, adopting a series of basic shapes (the line, the plane, the circle, the spiral) as a means from which his students begin creation.
Itten was a true craftsman and a bit of a genius. A man great in integrity and generosity who could encourage the very best from his students, not one to simply inflict his beliefs on others.
... from his book ‘The Art of Color: The Subjective Experience and Objective Rationale of Color.'
“...Drawing is not the reproduction of what is seen, but making whatever one senses through external stimulus (naturally internal, too) flow through one’s entire body; then it re-emerges as something entirely personal, as some kind of artistic creation more..."
By Emma Harrold, www.studioteepee.com