January 01, 2016

Blacked Out

Just as 2015 – the centennial of Kazimir Malevich’s iconic painting Black Square – was coming to an end, art historians dropped a bombshell: the black square is not actually all black, and the painting has probably been hanging upside down for decades.

Malevich painted several “black squares,” but the first one was done in 1915, and the work almost never leaves the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow because of its fragile state. It is a seminal work at the heart of the artist’s vision of “suprematist” art – a new, pure form of expression not limited to the depiction of objects.

Now, in a sensational announcement, the Tretyakov has said that the black square is actually painted over other art, and even has writing underneath. Researchers concluded after x-ray analysis that there could be two paintings beneath the black square, one a finished painting with pink, green and orange colors.

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