Painterly Realism of a Football Player – Color Masses in the 4th Dimension

Kazimir Malevichsummer-fall 1915

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, United States

During the summer and fall of 1915, Kazimir Malevich secluded himself in his Moscow studio in order to prepare for the groundbreaking exhibition “0.10 (Zero- Ten) The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings.” Seeking to push the formal discoveries of Cubism and Futurism to their limits, to find the most essential core—the “zero”—of painting, Malevich produced a series of completely abstract works that he declared constituted an entirely new system of art. Suprematism, as he called the new style, eradicated all references to the natural world and focused instead on the inherent relationships between colored geometric shapes against the void of a subtly textured white background. In the catalogue to the exhibition, Malevich warned, “In naming some of the paintings I do not wish to point out what form to seek in them, but I wish to indicate that real forms were approached in many cases as the ground for formless painterly masses from which a painterly picture was created, quite unrelated to nature.” “Painterly Realism of a Football Player—Color Masses in the 4th Dimension” belongs to this very first group of Suprematist works. The second part of its title refers to the mathematical theory of fourth dimensional space, a concept appropriated by many early-twentieth-century artists to justify their representation of truths beyond immediate sensory perception.


  • Title: Painterly Realism of a Football Player – Color Masses in the 4th Dimension
  • Creator: Kazimir Malevich (Russian, born Ukraine, 1878–1935)
  • Date Created: summer-fall 1915
  • Physical Dimensions: Original: 27 × 17 1/2 in. (71 × 44.5 cm); present: 27 5/8 × 17 5/16 in. (70.2 × 44.1 cm)
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Media: Oil on canvas
  • Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, through prior gifts of Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection; Mrs. Albert D. Lasker in memory of her husband, Albert D. Lasker; and Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, 2011.1
  • Artist: Kazimir Malevich (Russian, born Ukraine, 1878–1935)

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