Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow


Mondrian started painting landscapes and eventually more abstract artworks. He co-founded the De Stijl art style with Theo van Doesburg.

artwork in context

Piet Mondrian wrote, “I wish to approach truth as closely as is possible, and therefore I abstract everything until I arrive at the fundamental quality of objects”.

historical overview

The Dutch movement of De Stijl began around 1917, including other artists like J.J.P. Oud, Robert van ‘t Hoff, Bart van der Leck, Vilmos Huszár, and others.

compositional overview

This is an exemplary artwork providing a visual representation of all the basic elements of art that ultimately communicates the essence, or harmony, inherent in the universe.

subject matter

Mondrian introduces a square composition within a square frame. It is composed of seven square and rectangular shapes in different sizes and colors divided by thick black outlines.

subject matter

Looking at the black lines, these separate the colored squares and rectangles from one another in vertical and horizontal arrangements.

use of color

Mondrian utilizes colors that appear to be positioned asymmetrically. If we look at the large red square to the right , it makes up almost two-thirds of the composition and becomes a large visual focal point.

brushwork and texture

We notice the brushstrokes and the meticulous precision with which Mondrian applied his paint; there are no overlaps of color and brushstrokes, and it appears as straight and clean as can be.

forever composing

Mondrian's artworks, especially his abstract compositions, have become icons for pop culture.