Green and Tangerine on Red

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Mark Rothko, Green and Tangerine on Red, 1956
By GARY WHITTAKER

Rothko's Green and Tangerine, painted in 1956, shares more similarities with his earlier post-war paintings. Earlier works contain light colors with few dark colors to provide balance. Rothko's later works, particularly those in the Rothko Chapel, are dark to the point of almost total blackness. This turn to darker paint may reflect Rothko's dissatisfaction with the world, which started shortly after the Second World War.

The Second World War's destructive impact influenced a new, more hopeless philosophy. This philosophy can trace its roots back to the thinking of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. They believed that life had no inherent meaning and that it was the duty of individuals to prescribe meaning to existence.

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