Two other paintings have been uncovered underneath Kazimir Malevich's Black Square, referred to as one of the seminal works of Western abstract art and exhibited at Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery, Russian television channel TV Kultura reported.
“It had long been known that there was another composition beneath [the Tretyakov Gallery's] copy of the work,” head of the gallery's scientific research department, Yekaterina Voronina said in an interview with TV Kultura. Malevich had created four similar 'black square' paintings.
“However, researchers have now discovered that there are two.” She added that the paintings represented different artistic styles.
“The original composition is Cubo-Futurist, and that found directly beneath Black Square … is proto-Suprematist,” she said, referring to two schools of painting and sculpture practiced by the Russian avant-garde in the 1910s and 1920s.
Suprematism was the invention of Malevich, with its name deriving from the painter's belief in “the supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts.”
TV Kultura also reported that researchers had deciphered the inscription on the painting, believed to have been left by Malevich himself.
A special exhibition titled “Under the Sign of Malevich” marks the painting's centenary this year, running until February 2016 at the Tretyakov Gallery.