Suprematism. Two-Dimensional Self-Portrait is also sometimes known as Self-Portrait in Two Dimensions. It is an abstract painting by Kazimir Malevich which dates from around 1915.
The artist was busy exhibiting regularly during this period, making it relatively easy to date his work because they would all be unveiled fairly soon after being finished. Malevich was working hard to really develop his reputation at this time and was passionate about the new style that he was using. Abstract art was beginning to gain traction across Europe, but perhaps Malevich was not in the most forward-thinking nation when it came to art. Despite that, he was still able to achieve plenty and persuaded enough locals to achieve a certain level of respect and interest. It was more the ruling powers who posed the greatest threat and they would eventually destroy some of his paintings as a punishment for his refusal to work in a way that would be more palatable to them. Malevich would never amend his way to suit their needs, making conflict inevitable. He would famously later exhibit across in Germany and left many of his works there in order to avoid any issues that he predicted would come in Russia. Self-Portrait in Two Dimensions featured in a catalogue raisonne of the artist’s career which confirms its authenticity.
This painting is sized at 80cm in height and 62cm in width. The composition features one main black square at the top of the canvas. There are then several smaller shapes underneath, including a mustard coloured rectangle, a brown square just below and also a brown outline with blank centre. A larger blue rectangle is then angled sideways, with a further black rectangle hanging off the bottom. The background to this painting is entirely white and Malevich would have completed that first prior to adding layers of colour on top. Malevich would normally prepare first by drawing these shapes in loose sketches so that he would not have to amend too much once he started the final painting. This piece is entirely oil on canvas and is technically a self portrait. One immediately wonders where the different elements of the self portrait are represented, and that is the mystery found in Malevich’s Suprematist paintings. This painting can be found in the Stedelijk Museum which is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and offers a fantastic selection of paintings and drawings from this famous Russian’s career.
Russian art has been very influential over the past two decades, with many famous names relocating to the west in order to continue their progress with less interference. The nation was particularly skilled in realism in previous years but new artists starred in the 20th century and encouraged new ideas to be used for the first time. The country also hosts some of the finest collections in the world today, particularly in Moscow and St Petersburg and this helps to inspire future generations of Russians as well as encouraging tourism from abroad. The Soviet Union would include a number of other regions which also contributed some significant names of their own and all of these would be included under the umbrella of a single nation during a number of years before the region eventually broke up into smaller parts in the late 20th century.