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1 Constructivism: Theory, Characteristics, and So What? In identifying a constructivist approach to education aphorisms abound. The most common is that students create their own knowledge. Others include mantras such as: Learning is student centered Learning is an interactive process Learning begins in doubt Learning is the result of doing and undergoing experience Learning is experience based Discovery learning Exploratory learning Participatory decision making The teacher as a facilitator of learning as opposed to a dispenser of knowledge The education establishment is tarnished with the brush of faddism and constructivism has not escaped such criticism.
Unfortunately, as a criticism of education in general, the allegation of faddism appears to have validity. On the other hand, when taken in context, the descriptors of constructivism are also valid. However, it is not true that with these two givens the conclusion can be reached that the constructivist approach to learning is devoid of a philosophical foundation and is itself an example of faddism.
Such an assertion is not valid. Is Constructivism Philosophically Sound? Frequently educators apply the term philosophy inappropriately. More appropriate terms would be opinion or point of view. For example, one can have an opinion or a point of view concerning the teaching of reading be it phonics or whole language, but to insert the term philosophy connotes the lack of an understanding of the meaning of that term.
The debate over the relative merits of phonics and whole language in the teaching of reading ought to be guided by authentic and non-selective research. To insert the notion of a philosophical argument into the issue unveils a lack of syntactical clarity and distinction. However, another example would be the sport of fishing. Is it possible to have a “philosophy of fishing?” From at least one point of view with a long tradition the answer is: Yes.
In 1635 Izaak Walton wrote the first known book on the philosophy and delights of fishing: The Compleat Angler. The book is still in print today. If the answer of Yes as cited above is philosophically sound it would mean that the sport of fishing has an identifiable position relative to metaphysics, epistemology and axiology. I don’t think those engaged in the sport of fishing have given the matter much thought.
Unfortunately the same might be suggested for more immediate educational concerns. To speak of something as being philosophical sound implies that the view is characterized by three components: metaphysical, epistemological and axiological. 2 Metaphysics has to do with ontology and cosmology. Ontology has to with the basic nature of human kind and cosmology has to do with what is real. Epistemology has to do with knowledge –What is it? Axiology has to be with values – Why do human beings value what they value? In response to these characteristics constructivism meets the test of having a defensible philosophical (as well as a psychological) foundation.
In metaphysics constructivists believe that human beings enter the world neither inherently good nor evil but rather neutral in genetic orientation, behaviorally active and with free will. Prior to the scientific era and the period of enlightenment [17th and 18th centuries] the view of religionists of various persuasions prevailed. It was the then common belief that human beings entered the world either inherently good or inherently evil, and either with or without free will.
It was believed that these dispositions were predetermined by God. The implication for the purpose and application in education is self evident. The purpose of education was to bring students in compliance with predetermined goals and do so in response to codified norms of behavior. In epistemology constructivists believe that while knowledge is conceptually based and has structure, it is not something that exists by divine grace, is inherent in nature or is transmitted pedantically from teacher to learner.
Constructivists believe, as the aphorism asserts, that each learner discovers and constructs knowledge for self as the result of doing and interacting experientially with his or her environment. Learning is a socially interactive process as opposed to a solitary pursuit along a predetermined path [John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky]. Information and knowledge are not synonymous terms. To constructivists knowledge conveys the notion that the learner has the information necessary to proceed further in the learning spiral [Jerome Bruner, The Process of Education, 1960].
The learner has the capacity to comprehend the information, to analyze it including comparing and contrasting it with previous information, to synthesize it with other information, to evaluate its worth and effectiveness, and to apply it in real life [Benjamin Bloom, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Cognitive Domain, 1956]. As a result of this cognitive development process the learner continues on his or her quest in becoming a knowing person.
In axiology constructivists believe that values are existential. Values emerge in the context of living and experiencing as opposed to having been divinely ordained or being inherent in nature. To constructivists values emerge through the social interaction of human beings as they engage in experience[(Lev Vygotsky]. Experience is an active process of doing and undergoing (John Dewey). Values have meaning in context.
In Platonic terms a value held is a virtue and the virtuous person seeks the greatest good for the greatest number. 3 Does Constructivism Have a Heritage? While the term constructivism in its contemporary use is relatively new, its tenets are not. From antiquity to the present it has a long line of contributors. It has a scholarly heritage. Seeds of constructivism can be found in Aristotle. Unlike his mentor Plato who minimized the role of experience, Aristotle recognized the value of experience in the process of coming to know.
Aristotle draws everything from experience…he has always been the model for all empirical philosophers [Ulich, History of Educational Thought, 1954, p.25]. Beginning with the period of enlightenment a plethora of influential thinkers emerged including several who had an impact on education. Among the many were John Locke [1632-1704], Jean Jacques Rousseau [1712-78], Johann Pestalozzi [1746-1827], and Frederick Froebel [1782-1852].
Each has had a lasting impact on education. For example, John Locke was a proponent of a “sound mind in a sound body” and of what came to be referred to as social engineering. He advanced the notion that at birth the individual mind was a blank tablet to be filled by teachers, and was influenced by experience. Locke’s beliefs related to the source of knowledge were identified as empiricism. In political thought Locke was a liberal individualist and influenced Thomas Jefferson is his drafting of the United States Declaration of independence.
In Rousseau can be found seeds of developmentalism as articulated later by Piaget [Ulich, History of Educational Thought, 1950, pp 219ff]. One of Rousseau’s major works was Emile, a three volume treatise on education. Therein over and over again, he made the point that the education of children should follow the process of natural unfoldment or development. Education began at birth and is a process of habit formation.
The purpose of education was to lead mankind from absolutism and authoritarianism toward freedom, independence and self-fulfillment The aphorism Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains, is associated with Rousseau. The Social Contract, his essay on politics and government associated with the French Revolution. Pestalozzsi had early insights into modern psychology that came to be associated with Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.
Froebel is recognized as the founder of the kindergarten movement. However, it is not uncommon for early childhood teachers today to enter the profession never having heard his name. [Ulich, pp 55-56,383, 480, and 523]. Are There Contemporary Constructivist Theorists? Constructivism is not limited to the thinking of any one individual. True to its own creed constructivism is an amalgam of the thoughts of many contributors.
In contemporary times there has been a plethora of contributors to its development as a philosophically and psychologically sound approach to learning. 4 Since the latter half of the 19th century the development of constructivist thought has been associated with contributions drawn from the thinking of among others such luminaries as: William James, Charles S. Pierce, John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Benjamin Bloom, David Krathwohl, Lev Vygotsky, Howard Gardner, and Daniel Goleman.
In the Metaphysical Club  author Louis Menand summarized what can be identified as constructivist thinking in the work of James, Pierce, Dewy and Oliver Wendell Homes. James is recognized as the father of American psychology, Pierce as among America’s most unsung philosophers, and Dewey as America’s foremost native born philosopher. Holmes became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Menand summarizes their collective contribution as follows: If we strain out differences, personal and philosophical, they had with one another, we can say that what these four thinkers had in common was not a group of ideas, but a single idea – an idea about ideas. They all believed that ideas are not ‘out there’ waiting to be discovered, but are tools –like forks and knives and microchips – that people devise to cope with the world in which they find themselves.
They believed that ideas are produced not by individuals, but by groups of individuals – that ideas are social. They believed that ideas do not develop according to some inner logic of their own, but are entirely dependent, like germs, on their human carriers and the environment. And they believed that since ideas are provisional responses to particular and unreproducible circumstances, their survival depends not on their immutability but on their adaptability.
William James is credited with giving pragmatism its name. Before the term constructivism entered the lexicon the terms in common usage were pragmatism and instrumentalism. Dewey called his contribution instrumentalism. James believed that while the normal state of the individual mind was one of belief learning begins when the doubt or disequalibrium enters the thought process and the truth of an idea is questioned.
Charles Saunders Pierce held that the scientific method alone made progressive inquiry possible. He scorned a priori truths in favor of those that were experimentally verifiable. To him truths were not absolute, but rather provisional and corrigible thus assuring measurable progress. To this extent he was a pragmatist. His most important contribution to American thought was that knowledge evolved through social interaction.
Knowledge was the product of a group. These ideas have been developed further by Lev Vygotsky. Pierce formed the conversation society which came to known as the Metaphysical Club. Members included some of America’s foremost 19th century thinkers including William James and Oliver Wendell Holmes [Buchler, editor, Philosophical Writings of Pierce, 1955, p. ix; Menand, p.200]. John Dewey is generally regarded as America’s foremost native born philosopher.
He authored 38 books. He contributed during the first half of the 20th century and it is his name and thought that is most closely identified with progressive approaches to education 5 including constructivism. He taught that learning was an interactive process and that learning comes about as the result of the simultaneous and mutual interaction of the learner and the environment [SMILE]. He defined environment in broad gestalt terms including cultural and sociological forces.
Dewey sought to identify the instruments by which the purpose of life can be achieved. Thus, his system of thought was frequently identified as instrumentalism. Constructivism is in the tradition of Dewey’s instrumentalism .On the critical side, Dewey’s views have served as a rallying cry for those opposed to progressive education. In reality little of what he advocated has ever been universally applied to schools.
Jean Piaget was a genetic epistemologist. He proposed a four phase approach to human development. The phases from infancy to adolescence are the sensory-motor stage, preoperational, concrete operations and formal operations. According to Piaget every child follows this pattern but does so at different rates of speed and for differing periods of time from one stage to the next. To Piaget learning was an active, not sedentary or isolated process.
Many of his views are honored among educators today, even if, ironically, they are not identified directly with him. [Jean Piaget, Six Psychological Studies, 1967]. In contrast to his views the standardized testing movement so prevalent today sets aside a consideration of developmentalism for a one size fits all approach. Jerome Bruner contributed the notion of the spiral curriculum noting that learning took place both horizontally and vertically and did so simultaneously.
Learning was not linear and solely sequential. Today horizontal learning is referred to weaving and vertical learning as scaffolding or laddering. Bruner promoted learning as recursive and thus the spiral curriculum. As the learner learns in progressive and continuous fashion new knowledge builds on and is connected to that which has been learned before. [Jerome Bruner, The Process of Education, 1961, pp 51-54].
In this regard Johann Herbart’s 19th century concept of apperception is among the antecedents to Bruner. Benjamin Bloom, David Krathwohl and their associates contributed to the knowledge base of the learning process through their development of taxonomical structures. Prior to their application to education taxonomies were well established in other disciplines such as biology. Bloom dealt with cognitive development while Krathwohl focused on affective behavior.
The taxonomies of Both Bloom and Krathwohl have currency today but frequently are inadequately applied. There are six categories in Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy: Knowledge [or information], Comprehension, Application, Analysis [compare and contrast], Synthesis, and Evaluation. [Author’s note: I prefer to substitute the term Information for Knowledge, and to shift Application from the number four position to the end.
The learning process begins 6 with the accumulation of information and ends much later with knowledge. Application is a culminating authentic assessment activity. See the Creedon monograph, Group and Team Activities, 2003, for a description of how Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy can guide group and team activity]. David Krathwohl’s affective taxonomy is patterned after his colleague Bloom’s cognitive structure.
Together, they asserted that for every cognitive act there is a corresponding affective response. The two domains are integrated. Krathwohl’s five affective domain categories are: Receiving, Responding, Valuing, Organization of a value system, and Characterization by a value or value complex. Lev Vygotsky is unique in at least two respects. First, he had no formal training as a psychologist. As a university student his interests gravitated toward literature, medicine and law.
However, at age 28 he turned his attention to psychology doing his doctoral dissertation at the Moscow Institute of Psychology on the Psychology of Art . Second, Vygotsky did his work in the former Soviet Union following the communist revolution of 1917. Due to restrictions imposed by the then Soviet government his contact with like minded theorists in the West was limited. Nevertheless, his contribution was consistent with emerging constructivist views.
During his short life time he was pressured by the Soviets to bring his work into compliance with Soviet ideology. After his death in 1934 the Soviet Union suppressed his work. That is no longer the case and he is recognized as a major contributor to constructivist thinking. He died as a young man not living to see his views acclaimed internationally. Vygotsky is best known for his notion of the zone of proximal development [ZPD].
The zone is the cognitive gap between what the learner knows, what is unknown and what is desired to be known. Vygotsky called the difference between what a child can do alone because he/she knows, and that where help and guidance is needed from a more knowledgeable peer or mentor as the ZPD. The ZXP is where intellectual development occurs. In this regard Vygotsky relates to the notions of Pierce and James relative to cognitive doubt and the will or desire to believe.
Howard Gardner early in his career was influenced by the then reemerging work of Vygotsky. Gardner is noted for his theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner asserts that there are at least eight distinct ways that people have of perceiving and understanding the world. He identifies each of these as an intelligence. Individuals are gifted with more than one intelligence. However, in each person one and often more than one intelligence is more dominant than the others.
Gardner defines intelligence as a set of skills allowing individuals to find and resolve problems they face. There is nothing revolutionary in Gardner’s list of eight intelligences. Traditionally they have been identified as individual traits, strengths, the fruit of the survival of the fittest, or as gifts from God. What is new is how Gardner has positioned each on an equal footing 7 as alternatives ways of understanding, expressing and contributing to human development.
For the most part schools focus on but two of the eight categories of intelligence as defined by Gardner and these are verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical. Daniel Goleman believes that the true bell curve for a democracy must measure emotional intelligence. He asserts that “…in navigating our lives, it is our fears and envies, our rages and depressions, our worries and anxieties that steer us day to day.
Even the most academically brilliant among us are vulnerable to being undone by unruly emotions.” Here Goleman’s work suggests links to the earlier thought of Pestalozzi and Herbart [Ulich] as well as to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs theory . Goleman can point to many contemporary examples to support his thesis. Fears, worries and anxieties surround children and adults. Pre-school youngsters fret over going to school for the first time.
Students worry about passing mandated standardized tests that will determine if they get promoted or graduate from high school. Fear of violence at school and now terrorist attacks provoke anxiety. Goleman’s view is that the school must place as much emphasis on emotional intelligence as it does cognitive development. Does Constructivism Have Identifying Characteristics? Constructivism does have identifying characteristics.
Frequently a particular characteristic is more closely identified with one contributor than another. However, among them there is a basic internal consistency. The characteristics of constructivism cited below are not comprehensive, but they do suggest major components of a constructivist platform. 1. Learners construct their own knowledge beginning with what they already know, exploring what needs to be known next and determining the quality and effectiveness of their pursuit through authentic assessment and application.
2. All learning begins in doubt about the validity of an idea. The goal of doubt is the restoration of belief. (Pierce, James). 3. Learning takes place in the personal zone of cognitive development between what is already known, what is not known and what is desired to be known [Vygotsky]. 4. Learning is achieved best through a socially interactive process [Dewey, Vygotsky]. 5. Learning is best achieved when the undertaking is consistent with the stages of human development [Rousseau, Piaget].
6. Learning is an experience based process of inquiring, discovering, exploring, doing and undergoing [Dewey]. 7. The process of coming to know is neither random nor eclectic, it has structure [Bruner, Bloom]. 8. Learning proceeds in spiraling fashion including laddering, scaffolding, weaving, and dialogism [Bruner, Rogoff]. 8 9. Cognitive development occurs in a socio-cultural context – the social milieu of individual achievement and the interaction between the learner and adults as well as his/her peers in culturally valued activities.
[Riordan – Karlsson, p.18]. 10 The interactive process in coming to know needs to be guided by structured cognitive and affective taxonomies [Bloom, Krathwohl]. A Closing Comment: So what? Admittedly many teachers in their day to day classroom management utilize strategies, methods and tactics can be identified as constructivist. [See: Brooks and Brooks, The Case for Constructivist Classrooms, 1993; Riordan-Karlsson, Constructivism, 2000).
Others approaches are diametrically in contrast to a constructivist approach. (See:Williamson, Classroom Management – A Guidebook for Success, 1992]. Possibly many teachers may not associate what they do and have being doing regularly in their practice as reflective of constructivism one way or the other. Some may take exception with having what they do behind the classroom door in classroom management labeled as constructivist.
They may respond that they do what they do because what they do works! They may join the chorus of those who assert that talk of constructivism is nothing more than present day educational jargon and an example of faddism. The point is not for constructivists to take note of the direction in which the best practice parade in teaching has been moving and then jump out front and claim not only leadership but also propriety.
Rather, it is to point out to those interested in exploring the theoretical foundation behind the practices they engage in that what they do is consistent with sound, defensible theory. And, that theory might be constructivist. Learning theorists need to suggest to practitioners that what they do goes beyond a random, eclectic approach to what seems to work best. Among the marks of professional practice is that the practitioner knows the theoretical foundation upon which his or her practice rests and then practices what is known.
It is that knowledge and its application that provides the answer to the question of: So What? Ipse dixit! Lawrence P. Creedon Pompano Beach, Florida, 2003 Advertisements Explore posts in the same categories: Constructivism This entry was posted on December 18, 2009 at 7:23 pm and is filed under Constructivism. You can subscribe via RSS 2.0 feed to this post's comments. Responses are currently closed, but you can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.
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From Impressionism to De Stijl (c.1870-1930) Impressionism (c.1870-1890) CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)'Rouen Cathedral in Full Sunlight', 1893-94 (oil on canvas) Impressionism is the name given to a colorful style of painting in France at the end of the 19th century. The Impressionists searched for a more exact analysis of the effects of color and light in nature. They sought to capture the atmosphere of a particular time of day or the effects of different weather conditions.
They often worked outdoors and applied their paint in small brightly colored strokes which meant sacrificing much of the outline and detail of their subject. Impressionism abandoned the conventional idea that the shadow of an object was made up from its color with some brown or black added. Instead, the Impressionists enriched their colors with the idea that a shadow is broken up with dashes of its complementary color.
Among the most important Impressionist painters were Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Post Impressionism (c.1885-1905) VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-90)'Café Terrace at Night', 1888 (oil on canvas) Post Impressionism was not a particular style of painting. It was the collective title given to the works of a few independent artists at the end of the 19th century.
The Post Impressionists rebelled against the limitations of Impressionism to develop a range of personal styles that influenced the development of art in the 20th century. The major artists associated with Post Impressionism were Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat. Cézanne was an important influence on Picasso and Braque in their development of Cubism. Van Gogh's vigorous and vibrant painting technique was one of the touchstones of both Fauvism and Expressionism, while Gauguin's symbolic color and Seurat's pointillist technique were an inspiration to 'Les Fauves'.
Fauvism (1905-1910) HENRI MATISSE (1869-1954)'The Open Window, Collioure', 1905 (oil on canvas) Fauvism was a joyful style of painting that delighted in using outrageously bold colors. It was developed in France at the beginning of the 20th century by Henri Matisse and André Derain. The artists who painted in this style were known as 'Les Fauves' (the wild beasts), a title that came from a sarcastic remark in a review by the art critic Louis Vauxcelles.
'Les Fauves' believed that color should be used at its highest pitch to express the artist's feelings about a subject, rather than simply to describe what it looks like. Fauvist paintings have two main characteristics: extremely simplified drawing and intensely exaggerated color. Fauvism was a major influence on German Expressionism. German Expressionism (1905-1925) ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER (1880-1938)'The Red Tower at Halle', 1915 (oil on canvas) German Expressionism is a style of art that is charged with an emotional or spiritual vision of the world.
The expressive paintings of Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch influenced the German Expressionists. They also drew their inspiration from German Gothic and 'primitive art'. The Expressionists were divided into two factions: Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter. Die Brücke (The Bridge) was an artistic community of young artists in Dresden who aimed to overthrow the conservative traditions of German art.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff were two of its founding members. Der Blaue Reiter (the Blue Rider) was a group of artists whose publications and exhibitions sought to find a common creative ground between the various Expressionist art forms. Kandinsky, Marc and Macke were among its founding members. Abstract Art (c.1907 onwards) GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)'Violin and Pitcher', 1910 (oil on canvas) Abstract Art is a generic term that describes two different methods of abstraction: 'semi abstraction' and 'pure abstraction'.
The word 'abstract' means to withdraw part of something in order to consider it separately. In Abstract art that 'something' is one or more of the visual elements of a subject: its line, shape, tone, pattern, texture, or form. Semi-Abstraction is where the image still has one foot in representational art, (see Cubism and Futurism). It uses a type of stylisation where the artist selects, develops and refines specific visual elements (e.
g. line, color and shape) in order to create a poetic reconstruction or simplified essence of the original subject. Pure Abstraction is where the artist uses visual elements independently as the actual subject of the work itself. (see Suprematism, De Stijl and Minimalism). Although elements of abstraction are present in earlier artworks, the roots of modern abstract art are to be found in Cubism. Among other important abstract styles that developed in the 20th century are Orphism, Rayonism, Constructivism, Tachisme, Abstract Expressionism, and Op Art.
Cubism (1907-1915) PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)'Ambroise Vollard', 1915 (oil on canvas) Cubism was invented around 1907 in Paris by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. It was the first abstract style of modern art. Cubist paintings ignore the traditions of perspective drawing and show you many views of a subject at one time. The Cubists believed that the traditions of Western art had become exhausted and to revitalize their work, they drew on the expressive energy of art from other cultures, particularly African art.
There are two distinct phases of the Cubist style: Analytical Cubism (pre 1912) and Synthetic Cubism (post 1912). Cubism influenced many other styles of modern art including Expressionism, Futurism, Orphism, Vorticism, Suprematism, Constructivism and De Stijl. Other notable artists associated with Cubism were Juan Gris, Fernand Leger, Robert Delaunay, Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Louis Marcoussis and Marie Laurencin.
Futurism (1909-1914) GIACOMO BALLA (1871-1959)'The Rhythm of the Violinist', 1912 (oil on canvas) Futurism was a revolutionary Italian movement that celebrated modernity. The Futurist vision was outlined in a series of manifestos that attacked the long tradition of Italian art in favour of a new avant-garde. They glorified industrialization, technology, and transport along with the speed, noise and energy of urban life.
The Futurists adopted the visual vocabulary of Cubism to express their ideas - but with a slight twist. In a Cubist painting the artist records selected details of a subject as he moves around it, whereas in a Futurist painting the subject itself seems to move around the artist. The effect of this is that Futurist paintings appear more dynamic than their Cubist counterparts. Futurism was founded in 1909 by the poet Filippo Tommas Marinetti and embraced the arts in their widest sense.
The main figures associated with the movement were the artists, Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini, the musician Luigi Russolo and the architect Antonio Sant'Elia. Suprematism (c.1915-1925) KAZIMIR MALEVICH (1879-1935)'Suprematism', 1915 (oil on canvas) Suprematism was developed in 1915 by the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich. It was a geometric style of abstract painting derived from elements of Cubism and Futurism.
Malevich rejected any use of representational images, believing that the non-representational forms of pure abstraction had a greater spiritual power and an ability to open the mind to ‘the supremacy of pure feeling’. Suprematism was a style of pure abstraction that advocated a mystical approach to art, in contrast with Constructivism, the major Russian art movement of the 20th Century, whose imagery served the social and political ideology of the state.
Constructivism (c.1913-1930) EL LISSITZKY (1890-1941)'The Red Wedge', 1919 (lithograph) Constructivism used the same geometric language as Suprematism but abandoned its mystical vision in favour of their 'Socialism of vision' - a Utopian glimpse of a mechanized modernity according to the ideals of the October Revolution. However, this was not an art that was easily understood by the proletariat and it was eventually repressed and replaced by Socialist Realism.
Tatlin, Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and Naum Gabo were among the best artists associated with Constructivism. De Stijl (c.1917-1931) PIET MONDRIAN (1872-1944)'Composition with White and Yellow', 1942 (oil on canvas) De Stijl was a Dutch 'style' of pure abstraction developed by Piet Mondrian, Theo Van Doesburg and Bart van der Leck. Mondrian was the outstanding artist of the group. He was a deeply spiritual man who was intent on developing a universal visual language that was free from any hint of the nationalism that led to the Great War.
Mondrian gradually refined the elements of his art to a grid of lines and primary colors which he configured in a series of compositions that explored his universal principles of harmony. He saw the elements of line and color as possessing counteracting cosmic forces. Vertical lines embodied the direction and energy of the sun's rays. These were countered by horizontal lines relating to the earth's movement around it.
He saw primary colors through the same cosmic tinted spectacles: yellow radiated the sun's energy; blue receded as infinite space and red materialized where blue and yellow met. Mondrian's style which he also called 'Neo-Plasticism' was inspired by the Theosophical beliefs of the mathematician and philosopher, M.H.J. Schoenmaekers.
Title: Constructivism Art Movement Characteristics