The work depicts a monumental perfect black circle floating on a flat white background. It is, along with his Black Square of 1915, one of his most well known early works in this field, depicting pure geometrical figures in primary colours. The motif of a black circle was displayed in December 1915 at the '0. 10' Exhibition in St. Petersburg along with 34 other of his abstract works. The exhibition coincided with the publication of his manifesto "From Cubism to Suprematism" and launched the radical Suprematism movement. Malevich described the painting, along with the similar Black Square and Black Cross (both 1915), in spiritual terms; "new icons" for the aesthetics of modern art, and believed that their clarity and simplicity reflected traditional Russian piety. In these notions, his art and ideas later chimed with those of the Bolsheviks. However, while the paintings found favour with intellectuals, they did not appeal to the general viewer and as a result Malevich lost official approval. He was later persecuted by Stalin, who had an implicit mistrust of all modern art.
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