Rothko’s Paintings: Is Emotion Universal?

rothko's paintings

Staff Writer Alive ,,
I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.

In the late 40s, Mark Rothko, an American abstract expressionist, strayed away from surrealist painting and began creating what critics now call his ‘multiforms’. These were mostly rectangular fields of vibrant color applied with thin washes of paint on large canvases.

This became the style that we all know so well [or have seen in pop culture]. Larger-than-life canvases hosted complementary colors that envelope the viewer and become part of his experience [to Rothko, it aimed to be a “spiritual experience”].

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For Rothko, this was “intimate,” since the viewer was no longer observing something outside of himself or herself. Instead, the viewer was placed in an overwhelming atmosphere of emotion.

If you observe each piece individually, even on your small screen, the harmony of colors jump of the canvas and speak to you, communicating sentiments that can’t be put in words.

The question is.. Do they communicate the same emotion to all of us?

Let’s do an experiment: What do these paintings stir in you? Tell us in the comments below.

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