Four Darks in Red

Four Darks in Red
Artist Mark Rothko
Year 1958
Medium Oil on Canvas
Location Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Dimensions 102.0 in × 116.0 in
259.1 cm × 294.6 cm
Mark Rothko Famous Paintings
White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950
Four Darks in Red, 1958
Untitled (Black on Grey), 1970
No. 3/No. 13 (Magenta, Black, Green on Orange), 1949
Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961
Black on Maroon, 1958
Complete Works

Mark Rothko’s 1958 abstract painting Four Darks in Red shows his continuation of simplifying the elements that composed his paintings. At face value this seems to be a really simple painting. However, as with all Mark Rothlo’s other works of art, there is a deeper meaning beyond the simplicity and relatively limited palette. In fact this painter is renowned for these types of paintings and there are quite a few other paintings in this same style.

Artistic Techniques and Art Forms

By the 1950’s, he was using horizontal bands of color to divide the canvas. This technique is also used in the painting Four Darks in Red. Repeated layering of thin washes of paint provides luminosity to the painting. Four dark forms float against a red field. These dark “lozenge” shapes move horizontally across the canvas. The red field background is first tinged crimson, then almost brown. The “four darks” appear to both float and blend in to the red background field.

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