The symbolism of Malevich’s colored shapes

In the late 1914--early 1915 Partial Eclipse, Malevich developed further the symbolism of his dominant geometric colored shapes by juxtaposing them to a defaced reproduction of the Mona Lisa. Leonardo's painting, considered the greatest and most enigmatic image of Western civilization, was recognized in the mid-nineteenth century by the Symbolists as a mythic incarnation of eternal femininity. Merezhkovsky, in his 1901 influential novel, The Resurrection of Gods: Leonardo da Vinci, translated into English in 1902 as The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci, featured Leonardo as an idealized figure who embodies an ontological act of art…