The mythology that surrounds Mark Rothko and his work has made him an iconic figure well beyond the art world.
News of his suicide in 1970 came on the day the Tate took delivery of nine of his Seagram murals. Now the Tate has mounted an exhibition bringing these nine paintings together with six others in the series.
These paintings are at the heart of the show, and if the press view at Tate Modern is anything to go by, this exhibition of his late works will be heaving with fans - many who probably profess not to understand modern art, but love Rothko.
The Seagram series are vast canvasses, hung in one room. It feels like a cathedral; low lit and forcing meditation. The murals were created for the Four Seasons restaurant, in New York, a project Rothko turned his back on because he thought it an unsuitable place for his work and ideas. Walking among these deep, brooding blood-burgundy paintings, there is a strong sense of awe akin to a place of worship.
Imagining the room full of people, as it will undoubtedly be, begs the question whether viewing a Rothko amongst large crowds will really give you the experience he felt the work demanded.
As his son Christopher told me: "Unless you look at the paintings slowly, allow them to percolate, and almost go through a tenderising experience, there is little reward. If you walk through the rooms quickly, what are you going to see but coloured rectangles on the wall?"
Indeed, slow or fast, there will be people who will think the latter anyway. None of this should stop you from making the journey to Tate Modern, if you can.
Standing in front of a Rothko painting can be a profoundly emotional experience. Don't be intimidated by the crowds; take your time. His work reflects back at you what you put in. And at different periods of my life, I have seen different things in them. The black paintings, for example, are less a signature of bleakness and despair (they were among the last things he painted) than an attempt to test abstraction to its limits. There is nowhere to go in these paintings, except reflect on that which goes beyond the material.