Art

When Antonioni Met Rothko

In mid-1962 the New York artist Mark Rothko received a flattering letter from an Italian fan, Michelangelo Antonioni. The film-maker had just made his fourth visit to a survey exhibition of Rothko’s paintings at Rome’s Galleria Nationale d’Arte Moderna, dashing in one last time to see it on the show’s final day, and he felt compelled to write. “I was at the exhibition with Monica Vitti and two of my collaborators,” Antonioni explained. “We stayed in the rooms for hours.” Commenting that the paintings “appear to be made of nothing, or rather only the colour”, he extolled the merits of…

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