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Mark Rothko Untitled, 1951-55 (Le)

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Rectangular expanses of intense colour float upon the canvas. Their blurred edges make the colour masses appear to vibrate with a misty, magical quality. An ethereal luminosity suffuses the painting, dissolving all tension of form and contrasts of tones into an inner glow. Restrained yet deeply evocative, Rothko's works give the feeling of containing some buring truth, as if they represent the embodiment of long and arduous meditation. Born in Russia, Rothko emigrated to the USA with his parents in 1913. Largely a self-taught painter, he usually worked on a huge scole. He wanted to immerse the viewer in a total colour experience, saying, "I paint large pictures because I waht to create a state of intimacy. A large picture is an immediate transaction; it takes you into it." Rothko was a leading figure in Abstract Expressionism, and his formless canvases evoke the true spirit of the movement - an ultimate response to the unattainable mysteries of the human psyche.

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