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Black Circle

Artist: Kasimir Malevich
Created: 1923-29
Dimensions (cm): 105.5 x 105.5
Format: Oil on canvas
Location: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia



Black Circle

“Under Suprematism I understand the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art. To the Suprematist the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling, as such, quite apart from the environment in which it is called forth.” – Kasimir Malevich “Suprematism”

Kasimir Malevich made his mark in the art world by developing a genre of painting he called “suprematism.” Created between 1923 and 1929, ‘Black Circle’ is an ideal representation of suprematism, an experience in pure feeling and perception. At first glance, the painting’s massive black circle at the upper right of the canvas, applied on a pure white background, appears meaningless and simplistic in nature. However, a second look, and the circle draws you into its void and causes an emotional awakening.

Malevich’s intention, with regard to his line of suprematism paintings, was to create art so pure in form that it would be easily understood by everyone, and would evoke universal feelings comparable to the intense emotions caused by religious paintings. So, in taking a second look at the painting, has Kasimir Malevich achieved his goal? Undoubtedly, ‘Black Circle’ produces a strange curiosity in millions of viewers; many get lost in its boldness, some reflect on its purity and admire its simple geometry, while others continue to question its purpose.

Analysis

Upon review of the exhibition entitled “Kasimir Malevich: 1878-1935”, which ran in late 1990 at the National Gallery of Art, art critic Michael Brenson wrote: “The one constant in Malevich's Suprematism is the white ground. It is utterly selfless and anonymous yet distinct. It is a dense emptiness, or full void. It is atmospheric yet it has little air, and it does not suggest sky. It does not envelop or squeeze the rectangles, rings and lines. It is ready and available but not transparent. It is not open or closed but both at the same time. Some white shapes nestle inside it. Most shapes stick to it. Nothing is trapped. Everything seems held yet free. Shape and whiteness are different but they never struggle.”

In view of Malevich’s passion, Brenson stated, “It may be impossible to believe in painting more than Malevich did. In his best work, the relationship between edge, texture, color and space has an authority that is hard to surpass.”

‘Black Circle’ by Kasimir Malevich is located at the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.



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