Mark Rothko- Visual Analysis



Mark Rothko, no.9 (1947)

–       oil on canvas

–       date accessed: 27/ 02/14

–       reference:


Around he time of this painting on February 10th in 1947 the World War Two peace treaties was signed and the Voice of America begins broadcasting to USSR. You can tell the painting is from abstract surrealism by the big scale and bright colours that represented the movements style by uniting the artists together in American at a time when Europe was in a political instability in the 1930s. This painting was along with a series of eleven paintings altogether. In his earlier work he did landscapes and figures but he left them behind and started to work on painting like this one which included the ‘multiform’ featured blurred shapes created from layered washes of paint. The painting includes warm reds, oranges and yellows that are distributed by the strange black mass coming in from the left as well as the brushy swirled lines of blue in the lower section of the painting. From the blues compared to the yellows and reds they give and light and dark tone again separating the image. The image looks rough and grainy by the brush strokes. Each layer has a blurred edge that separate it from each blocked colour beginning to show through the rectangular shapes it’s made; that is also experimented with size and scale also. Although it wouldn’t necessarily be considered as abstract expressionism Rothko believed these were abstract forms “Organisms…with the passion for self-expression”.  His work wasn’t just about presenting colour relationships but he thought it was in expressing the big emotions- tragedy, ecstasy and doom. 


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