The future is black!

A simple black square by Russian artist Kazimir Malevich was first presented to the public in 1915. What a sensation! At the same time the image caused both incomprehension and rejection – the viewer could neither make out representational features nor see shapes or lines in this composition. While the First World War was already raging in Europe, Malevich had created an unprecedented painting implying a dark premonition of the future.

Kazimir Malevich, Black Suprematic Square, 1915. Oil on linen, 79 x 79 cm. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Kazimir Malevich, Black Suprematic Square, 1915. Oil on linen, 79 x 79 cm. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Today Black Suprematic Square by Malevich is an icon of modern painting mentioned in countless books about 20th-century art. During his life the artist himself referred to his masterpiece several times in his work, just like in his self-portrait from 1933. In this image he is forming a square with his hand and he also signed it with a black square in the lower-right corner.

Kazimir Malevich, Self-Portrait, 1933.
Kazimir Malevich, Self-Portrait, 1933. Oil on linen, 73 x 66 cm. State Russian Museum, St Petersburg.

With his works this exceptional artist and art theorist created his very own style called ’suprematism’, an abstract art movement differing fundamentally from traditional concepts of art.

Find out more about this great artist in our title, Malevich.