Black Square Painting

WHO WAS kazimir malevich?

Kazimir Malevich was a famous Russian avant-garde artist who started the Suprematism art style and theory, pioneering non-objective Abstract art in Russia as well as the world.

black square in context

Malevich was one of the fathers of non-objective, otherwise non-representational, Abstract art. 

historical overview

Malevich first introduced his famous square painting as a design on a stage curtain for the opera called Victory Over the Sun (1913); the genre was Russian Futurism.

more than an "empty square"

Malevich described his painting as no “empty square”, but instead it was the “feeling of nonobjectivity”. These descriptions provide detail about the essence of the non-objective world that Malevich felt such a connection to.

subject matter

If we look at the Black Square, as the title denotes, it is simply a square painted in the color black on a white background, which is also in a square shape.

color and texture

We will notice texture created by the brushstrokes, on the white and black surfaces. Art sources state that Malevich sometimes utilized two different pigments of white, lead white and zinc white, to create the idea of texture.


If we look at the form of the square, art sources have stated that it is not a true square, in other words, the sides are not paralleled like a square would be.


X-Ray studies revealed that Malevich wrote a note under the paint. It read, “A battle of negroes…”, the rest of the inscription was reportedly illegible. Some have stated it possibly read, “Battle of negroes in a dark cave” or “Negroes battling in a cave”.