The Works of Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian

Black and white forms of arts were common in the past. Most artists lingered on producing of art that used the two colors though with varying shades, which resulted into grey. These forms of art in black and white are something of a misnomer because they include the mixture in measured quantities of black and white to create an illusion of color. This essay will contrast and compare the work of Kazimir Malevich in the Suprematist composition with that of Mondrian composition in white, black and red.


Malevich is a Russian painter. His parents bore him in Kiev as the first among his fourteen siblings. Malevich's father was a sugar factory manager. This led to Malevich been raised up around peasantry with fields of sugarcane surrounding him. The art that he knew was what surrounded him. This was pure art of the peasants. Malevich later moved to Kiev to study professional art, where he learnt how to draw. After his father's death, he moved to Moscow where he enrolled into Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture. He is popular for having founded the suprematism movement.

Malevich suprematist composition is a picture of a fade black box on a white field. The black box though almost looks like white, hence the name white on white. According to Malevich, his inspirations were to free art from the common view of objectivity and bring in abstracts. He wanted to focus on what he felt none objectively. Malevich says that in drawing the white box, he was expressing how he felt. He says that he felt as if he was in a desert trapped, and the things that he viewed in the world were non-objective.

He viewed suprematist as the work of pure art that was getting newly discovered. Suprematism was none obscured, and it showed clear meaning. The white box represented the feelings that he felt. On the other hand, the bigger white box was a representation of a void that he felt. Malevich main aim was to shoe the supremacy of feelings over objective art. Malevich used basic qualities such as shapes like rectangles, and squares to express feelings. This white on white lacked color and to Malevich, he was able to reinforce his suprematism theory of feelings over objectivity.

Malevich began his movement in suprematism in 1915; he was shifting from cubism. This occurred when he first painted the black square. This work was different from the white on white, because the black box was more visible and expressive. It showed contrast and contained more superfluous elements such as color. This according to Malevich had not reached the peak of the suprematism movement. He was later to paint the yellow quadrilateral on white, which became an improvement to the black square. His best work that showed pure suprematism was the white on white. This is because it eliminated color and relied on ordinary elements such as shapes and shades.

The works of Malevich occurred during the period of the Russian revolution. This was the time that Russia was experiencing a change from an old regime to a new and fresh government. This brought with it lots of hope and feelings of freedom. According to Malevich, this was the time that people would experience freedom. He saw the revolution as having paved way for freedom. It was after this revolution that materialism began to be encouraged, and he saw this as an opportunity to express one's feelings and freedom. Malevich painted various drawings where he laid different colors on the white space. It was after the new regime that artist such as Malevich restricted their expression in their work. This was after 1918, which rendered most of them to stop painting.

At the time that Malevich was working on his painting of white on white, the cubism movement was presently the norm of art. Cubism was a form of movement of modernism pioneered by Picasso. Cubism involved the use of several objects in a painting that interlinked to form art that could be interpreted through various contexts. Cubism, unlike the suprematism movement, involved the use of various objects abstractedly in a painting. Suprematism was, therefore, a new movement in art and Malevich was bold enough to establish this new movement amidst the popular cubism movement. This is because suprematism lacked subjects and only revolved around color and dimensions.

Piet Mondrian was born in Amersfoort Netherlands to his parents. He was a second child to his parents. Mondrian was lucky to have his father as a teacher as he taught him how to draw from a remarkably early age. Mondrian began his career as a teacher, while he was able to paint on a part time basis. Mondrian's early work was mostly that of an expressionist. He painted mostly landscape that depicted areas in the country.

Mondrian's composition of white, black and red is a painting depicted on a white ground having Vertical and horizontal lines in black and red. The lines that Mondrian uses vary in width and in how they transverse in the painting. This painting may look easy, but it is difficult for one to replicate this work of Mondrian.

Mondrian took time to develop as an artist, where he had art that defined his style. He moved from Netherlands into France where his paintings became largely influenced by cubism. He tried to incorporate cubism in his work, but he still felt that he had not achieved what he sought. He later returned to Netherlands in 1914, where the work of Van Der Leck had a significant impact on his work. It was during this time that Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg established the movement of neo-plasticism.

According to Mondrian this movement in art used lines and color to express beauty.  Nature majorly inspired Mondrian profoundly, where he says that it made him want to depict this nature and its beauty in his work of painting. Mondrian devotes his use of vertical, horizontal and color to come up with a piece of art and express his feelings. This comes out well in this work of white, black and red composition.

This work of Mondrian substantially relates to other works that he was able to paint after the war. This was when he moved back to France, this time with a style of his own. He was able to paint the composition in red, blue and yellow with the use of lines and varied rectangle shapes. Just like Malevich, Mondrian largely used shapes and lines in art.  As time went by, Mondrian's paintings changes in how much color is present to the varying thickness of the horizontal and vertical lines. His ultimate painting had less use of color leaving the boxes white and the lines thickened. This is in his painting the composition with yellow, blue and red 1937.

The works of Mondrian were happening at the time of the world war one. This was when he returned to Netherlands and was able to develop the movement of neo-plasticism. He was able to see the dynamics of equilibrium and applied this into his work. It was not only in his paintings but also in architecture and in how people were living. Mondrian felt that modernity had arrived, and it came with it new ways of seeing and expressing nature.

 Cubism and fascism partly influences Mondrian's work. Cubism came at the commencement of his profession, at this time he had not yet established his neo-plasticism movement. The earlier works of Mondrian involve subjects such as trees in his gray tree painting. At this time, Mondrian had not arrived at his best art. It was until he was able to use only pictorial aspects in paintings that he found his signature. During his demise, with the cropping of fascism, Mondrian's art began to lose its neo-plasticism influence and now included more lines than he had ever used and this works began to decline in the form of art.


It is evident that Mondrian and Malevich are similar in their works. They refuse to use subjects in their paintings and instead result to the use of pictorial forms such as lines and shapes. They both believe that sincere art can express a lot of feelings than art with subjects. Malevich though differs in that he prefers to use less color as he advances to almost monochrome paintings in his white on white composition. Mondrian, on the other hand, prefers to introduce varying colors and more and more lines in his paintings. It is true that, without the two artist movements in modernism art, art would not have developed as it has today. This is because these two movements introduced by the two artists have inspired many artists.

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