Untitled (Black, Red over Black on Red)

7:00 AM

Rothko, Untitled (Black, Red over Black on Red), 1964
By SARAH XU 

My first time experiencing a Rothko painting was not in a book or on a website. I had the honor of seeing one in person at the Pompidou Center in Paris.

I took many photos when I visited this museum, but I took pictures for two reasons: I recognized the piece of art or artist, or because I thought the piece of art was ridiculous. Untitled (Black, Red over Black on Red) currently exists as a blurry picture on my phone, not because I thought the painting was aesthetically pleasing, but because I partially knew these kinds of paintings were well-known, but also because I thought it was one of the painters who painted aimlessly.

After reading both a play and watching a film about Rothko and his paintings, I now recognize Rothko not as a wannabe painter, but as an artistically talented person. Among Rothko’s numerous paintings, shades of red are quite commonly seen. Untitled (Black, Red over Black on Red) serves as one of Rothko’s darker paintings, painted just six years before he committed suicide. At first glance, the lighter shade of red borders a black rectangle and a slightly darker shade of red. But, as you stare into the painting, the rectangles seem to float and move around the painting. One of Rothko's unique and widely known components of his paintings, is that he does not just rigidly paint lines, he artistically blends the colors together into a blur, creating a subtle change in various colors.

If I had the opportunity to go back to that museum, I would take another picture, but this time, it would be because I admire the painter and the painting. I would sit down in front of the painting and just look at it, and not just see colors, but what Rothko wanted to portray by the specific and strategic placement of the colors.

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