Composition with Giocondo (Partial Eclipse in Moscow)

Kazimir Malevich • Painting, 1914, 62×49.5 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Style of art: Cubism, Suprematism
Technique: Collage, Oil, Graphite
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1914
Size: 62×49.5 cm
Artwork in selections: 57 selections

Description of the artwork «Composition with Giocondo (Partial Eclipse in Moscow)»

Just before World War I Kazimir Malevich having experienced Impressionism and Cubism made a number of painting experiments, which undoubtedly could be counted as Dadaism. The artist himself preferred the term “alogism”. Indeed, his collages and canvases, created mostly in 1914 (1,2), lacked logic at the first glance. They could be compared with surreal paintings by Rene Magritte and at first view their names seemed to have nothing to do with their themes. Malevich was focused on the absurdity of the representation adding to each work one or more dissonant elements. In his “Composition with Giocondo” it was the painting by da Vinci ( ) crossed crosswise and a press cutting with the announcement “the flat is passed to”. In the “Aviator”( the painter scattered the inscription “chemist’s shop” (apteka) all over the canvas. In his “Englishman in Moscow” ( ) it is a painted spoon on the character’s top hat (a wooden spoon was stuck to the painting initially).

“Alogical” paintings and collages were created by Malevich soon after he had finished his artwork “Victory over the Sun”. We get the impression that participation in the creation of an opera in the atmosphere of free flight of fantasy and continuous provocations impacted the author in such a way that he could not stop playing tricks. The painter said about this impression: «If we closely examine a line it appeared to be stuffed like a sausage with different shapes alien to each other and not knowing their neighbors. May by in a line we could find a horse, a box, a moon, a cupboard, a stool, frost, church, ham, ringing of bells, a prostitute, a flower, a chrysanthemum. If we illustrate a line informative, we will obtain the most absurd row of forms.”

The Composition with Mona Lisa and other artworks by Malevich in 1914 became in a way harbingers of future Suprematism. Little time passed and the painter exploded the world of art with his Black Square ( ). Though at that time the painter was cautiously training, placing his collages against a suprematic background and lavishly flavoring those with monochrome geometric figures applied one upon another. If it comes to the Mona Lisa crossed with red according to art experts Malevich with the inscription “the flat is passed to” equated the masterpiece with one of the most routine things denying its artistic value. Malevich denied the old art in his sayings with courageous fervidity. “Let Praxiteles, Phidias, Raphael, Rubens and the rest be cast down to dungeons and cemeteries. Let them hold a vigil for deceased time. Let them carry the remains of that ego. Out of our time and our forms we create a face sealed by this era that it may be recognized in the flow of time.” (“To the New Face” newspaper “Anarchy”, 1918).

Written by Eugeniya Sydelnykova