Simon Schama’s Power of Art – Rothko, part 3 of 7

Rothko’s work was influenced by Nietzsche, Greek mythology, and his Russian-Jewish heritage; Rothko’s art emanated emotional content that he articulated through a range of styles that evolved from figurative to abstract.  Rothko’s early figurative work – including landscapes, still lifes, figure studies, and portraits – demonstrated an ability to blend Expressionism and Surrealism. His search for new forms of expression led to his color field paintings, which employed shimmering color to convey a sense of spirituality (not necessarily a religious spirituality).  Rothko advocated and insisted upon the artist’s total freedom of expression, which he felt was compromised by the market place.