Complex Presentiment Half-Figure in a Yellow Shirt by Kazimir Malevich

Running Man, Sensation of an Imprisoned Man and Complex Presentiment Half-Figure in a Yellow Shirt, as found here, provide similar content in which a portrait figure is captured within a sprawling landscape. The modern style is underlined by the positive, warm tones which fill both the foreground and background.

The portrait found here captures a tall figure from the waist up, with their bottom half cropped out of the scene altogether. The half-figure wears a yellow outfit which is fairly simple and probably helps to identify him as a rural worker from the Russian countryside. He also has a small string around his waist to keep the outfit in place, perhaps whilst working in the fields. There is a blue sky across the background which is entirely typical of the artist and the lower half of the background is filled with horizontal stripes of red, black, yellow and blue. Additionally, there is a single abstract form of a small house which provides a strong feeling of perspective when placed alongside the tall figure who looms large in the foreground. This can be considered one of the simpler peasant within landscape scenes produced by Malevich, and that was a theme which he re-visited many times over.

Many of the rural workers would become opressed by the ruling powers and Malevich was particularly concerned by their plight. He wanted to record and communicate their appaling treatment, but had to do so in a manner that would not get himself in trouble as he had already fallen foul of the authorities himself. He therefore tried to produce abstract ideas which could be argued in many different ways, whilst those close to him knew exactly the issues and messages that he was trying to communicate. He would still run into trouble, though, and would sometimes leave his work abroad in order to protect it from destruction in Russia, which was later proved to have been a great decision and social controls became stricter and stricter during this period of Russian history.

Piet Mondrian would play a similar role in encouraging the use of Abstract art within European art circles and, along with Malevich, they left behind important legacies which others would follow and learn from in the decades that followed after their deaths. Some of the Dutchman’s best work included the likes of Broadway Boogie Woogie, Gray Tree and Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow, though there was much more to see besides these three classic artworks. He produced series of work across certain themes, with his depictions of trees being highly memorable, as well as a charming set of windmill paintings from earlier on in his career. He would later move into a truly abstract world where geometric shapes would dominate, normally within a limited palette of just a few colours, such as yellows, red, whites and blues.

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