Mark Rothko’s Recipe for a Work of Art
min Read25 September 2023
Mark Rothko, one of the most renowned American artists of the postwar era, is widely recognized as an Abstract Expressionist, and his artwork is truly captivating. Those fortunate enough to have experienced Rothko’s pieces in person often find themselves immediately enchanted by his abstract color fields. Within these canvases, one can discern a multitude of emotions and interpretations, including themes of mortality, devotion, and hope. Some even claim to perceive reflections of their own inner selves in his work.
In November 1958, Mark Rothko delivered a lecture at the Pratt Institute in which he contemplated art as a craft and shared insights into “the recipe of a work of art – its ingredients – how to make it – the formula.” Here it is. What do you think?
1. There must be a clear preoccupation with death – intimations of mortality… Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death.
2. Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship to things that exist.
3. Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.
4. Irony, this is a modern ingredient – the self-effacement and examination by which a man for an instant can go on to something else.
5. Wit and play… For the human element.
6. The ephemeral and chance… For the human element.
7. Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.
We love art history and writing about it. Your support helps us to sustain DailyArt Magazine and keep it running.
DailyArt Magazine needs your support. Every contribution, however big or small, is very valuable for our future. Thanks to it, we will be able to sustain and grow the Magazine. Thank you for your help!