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artists Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko


Synopsis

Mark Rothko's Jewish identity was bound up with his childhood experiences as a Jew growing up in Latvia in the Pale of Settlement.His early memories of anti-Semitism not only stayed with him his whole life, they also conflated with and informed his reaction to the Holocaust. In late 1941-around the time the Nazi plan to exterminate Europe's Jewish population became common knowledge-Rothko's art reflected a dramatic shift. In place of the realistic genre scenes that had dominated his work up until that point, Rothko turned to "tragic and timeless" themes from Greek mythology and Christian iconography, which he combined with subtle references to Jewish burial practices and the Holocaust. Rothko's effort to come to terms with the unfolding catastrophe and its aftermath can also be seen in ehis latteryabstract color field paintings of the 1950s and beyond.

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