Precedents of the Unprecedented: Black Squares Before Malevich


Described by Kasimir Malevich as the “first step of pure creation in art”, his Black Square of 1915 has been cast as a total break from all that came before it. Yet searching across more than five hundred years of images related to mourning, humour, politics, and philosophy, Andrew Spira uncovers a slew of unlikely foreshadows to Malevich’s radical abstraction.

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