Our Art / Kazimir Malevich / The Knife Grinder or Principle of Glittering

The Knife Grinder or Principle of Glittering by Kazimir Malevich

The Knife Grinder or Principle of Glittering, 1912

Kazimir Malevich

This dazzling Cubo-Futurist painting shows a knife-grinder, blade in hand, bent over his sharpening stone. The artist achieved a hall of mirrors quality by showing repeating, successive layers of interlocking planes. The mechanistic hands, with green and yellow fingers, repeat as the figure moves; the feet, in black shoes and bent legs also replicate outward. It’s as if we can see a series of consecutive viewpoints and moments in time simultaneously. Cubo-Futurism combined the abstract geometry of Cubism with the fragmented forms of Futurism. In this painting, you can see the style’s characteristic breaking down of forms, alteration of contours, and intersection of spatial planes.

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Credit
Yale University Art Gallery