24th September 2004 at 01:00
KS1 Use strips of tissue paper to make Rothko-style collages. If the strips are stuck down on to sheets of plastic using polyvinyl acetate (pva) glue mixed with a little water, the tissue paper can be peeled off the plastic sheet when dry and hung over windows to create light effects.

Use wool to weave Rothko-style fabric pictures.

KS2 Brainstorm words and phrases to describe the painting. Think about the types of moods and emotions the artist might have experienced when painting it.

What kinds of feelings does it promote in the pupils?

Create mood music and poems to accompany the painting.

KS3 Compare the way other artists have used colour to express emotion, eg Van Gogh and Picasso in his blue period.

The modern painting to which Rothko was most deeply attached was Matisse's "Red Studio", which he studied every day for months when it was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 1949.

Rothko said he felt immersed in the colour of it, the way in which one can become immersed in a piece of music.

Investigate the influence of Matisse on the subsequent development of Rothko's art.

KS4-5 Research and compare other great monomaniacs of modern art, eg Giacometti, Monet, Rosso.

Explore the different ways in which they all pushed their art to the limit.

Other artists to compare and contrast with Rothko could be Barnett Newman and his "zip" paintings, and colourists such as Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski. Perhaps the most interesting comparison would be with Mondrian.

Investigate the different ways in which the two artists juxtaposed serenity and violence within their paintings.


Mark Rothko by Jeffrey Weiss, (National Gallery of Art Washington)

This is Modern Art by Matthew Collings (Weidenfeld and Nicolson)

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today