Strahlen was executed by Kandinsky in 1929, during his time at the Bauhaus. Being a leading theoretician and a trail-blazer of the avant-garde, Kandinsky's main interest lay in the relationship of colour and form. Kandinsky was responsible for the classes of 'analytical drawing' and 'abstract elements of form' and had set up the class of 'free painting' in 1927, in collaboration with his friend and fellow professor at the art school, Paul Klee. During the Bauhaus years, Kandinsky painstakingly researched new ways of broadening the means of his expression into new areas of abstraction. Towards this end, his drawings, studies and watercolours are invariably exact, and in structure and expression equivalent to his paintings, although not everything in the former proved usable in the latter. The spatter technique (Spritztechnik) for example, which from 1927 onwards can be seen frequently in works on paper by Kandinsky and Klee, was never adopted in their oil paintings.
One shape, which reoccurs frequently in Kandinsky's oeuvre, and which is the dominating feature in Strahlen is the circle. '... it relates to cosmic' Kandinsky explains, 'But in the first place I use it in a formal sense... Why am I captivated by the circle? Because it is: 1) the most modest form, yet recklessly affirming itself, 2) precise, yet inexhaustibly variable, 3) stable and unstable at the same time, 4) quiet and noisy at the same time, 5) a tenseness embodying innumerable energies. The circle is a synthesis of the greatest contrasts. It combines in one balanced form the concentric and the eccentric movements. Between the three primary forms (triangle, square, circle) it is the clearest indication of the fourth dimension.' (Letter to Grohmann on 12 October 1930).