Aug, 12 2022   |   Artists

Kazimir Malevich and the birth of suprematism


Malevich believed that the art of his time had become too representative and wanted to explore the idea of ​​what he called "pure art." His goal was to create a new kind of art that people could not only see, but also feel. Create a sense of abstraction by eliminating all references to what we know as reality and focusing on basic shapes and colors.

Important moments in the life and work of Malevich

Kazimir Malevich was born in a village near Kiev in Ukraine on February 26, 1878. He was the son of Polish emigrants who settled near Kiev, which belonged to the Russian Empire, during the partitions of Poland. Malevich was interested in art from an early age. It was in Kiev that he began his education at the school of fine arts - he learned drawing. In the years 1905–1910 he studied painting in the studio of Ivan Rerberg. He lectured at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture from 1920 until his death on May 15, 1935. He is best known for his artistic work and theoretical art writings. His painting "Black Square" became the basis for creating a new trend in painting, and he entered Malevich on the list of the world's most recognizable artists.

The painting "Black Square on a White Background" and its influence on the world of art

In 1915, Kazimir Malevich created the painting "Black Square" (a black square in a white frame). The painting was exhibited in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the last exhibition of futuristic painting, and has since become a symbol of modern art.

Kazimir Malevich

Malevich clearly described the scroll's intention to introduce changes in the art of painting, which, according to him, focused too much attention on the attribute of real everyday life. Through his paintings, he wanted to completely give up imagining reality and invent his own world of shapes and forms. In his later treatises, he wrote that he took refuge from contemporary art precisely in his black square.

After the first installment of "Black Square", Malevich's art will cause chaos. For the first time, someone tried to break out of cubist and futuristic works and create something new, something that will become a symbol of the coming new era in painting. Such an artistic revolution became a reflection of the social revolution taking place at that time in Russia (the time of the First World War, the Bolshevik uprisings, the October revolution).

The painting "Black Square" has become one of the most influential paintings in history due to the initiation of an entirely new art form - suprematism - that has never been seen before.

What is Suprematism?

Malevich described his new abstract approach to painting with Suprematism. The word was taken from the Latin word supremus, which means "supreme". Suprematism is the dominance of simple geometric shapes and colors on the canvas. Such use of forms and colors was to make the viewer focus on the picture itself, and not distract him by painting landscapes or portraits.

Kazimir Malevich

What has Malevich hidden under the "black square"?

Over the years, artists have developed various theories about the black square. What did it actually mean? Did Malevich hide something very important under the coat of paint? What exactly was it painted for? The black square has become, in a way, an icon of the art of painting. The idea of ​​its creation, until now, is almost mythical, thus inspiring artists all over the world. The simple square motif became the basis for its visualization in various ways. And this was probably what Malevich wanted the most, because after all, there is no proper way of looking at the black square and not always everything has to show reality.

Due to the development of technology, today we know that Malevich hid two paintings under the "Black Square". Scientists from the Russian State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow proved that the original image is a cubofuturistic composition, while the image directly below the "Black Square" is a protosuprematic composition. In addition, X-ray analysis of the first black layer of paint revealed that there was a handwritten inscription "Negroes Fighting in a Cave", which probably refers directly to the work of the French artist Alphonse Allais from 1897 entitled "Negroes Fighting in the Basement at Night".

Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Malevich - where to see his paintings?

Malevich's works can be seen in several museums around the world. Some of his works also belong to private collections. Malevich's most important paintings can be found in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Outside of Russia, most of his works are owned by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (as many as 24 paintings) and some of his compositions can also be seen in the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

For lovers of Malevich's work, we recommend creating a wall gallery at home with reproductions of his paintings. Canvas paintings and vintage posters will be perfect for this. Our collection of high-quality posters printed on canvas includes such great works by Malevich as "Suprematical Composition" from 1916 or "Supremus no. 50".

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