Visual Analysis – Minimalism

Artist: Mark Rothko

Title: Light Red Over Black

Measures: 2306 x 1527 x 38mm

Gallery:  Tate

Date: 1957


Rothko uses the two main colours of red and black in this piece, stretching these two colours and ever so slightly altering both of them to be able to make them work as brand new colours and new shades of the original colours. Therefore this showed Rothko to have used 4 colours in this piece instead of 2.  Rothko was very clever when choosing the colour scheme for this particular piece; he changed the original colours only slightly to make lighter shades of the original colours. This added more depth to the piece and made the simplicity even more impressive. The use of only 2 main colours in this piece, to then make 4 colours, makes this piece simplistic and fit into the minimalism period perfectly. Rothko is very well known for his work within minimalism, this piece is a great example of his style within art and within minimalism. The way that Rothko uses very messy lines and brush strokes in this piece adds to the understanding of the texture within this art piece. The use of the bright red as the background for this piece is very effective as this makes the black rectangles stand out more and become more of a centerpiece. The separation and diversity of the two black rectangles, this being the different shade used for both, makes the image more appealing. The use of the different shades breaks up the image and stops it from being too overwhelming and gloomy. Positioned at the top of the canvas is a small rectangle coloured with a lighter red than the background behind it, I believe that this is to make the top part of the image lighter and is to draw your eyes away from the darkness of the rectangles below it. 


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