Francis Newton Souza's series of black paintings serve as a radical departure within his oeuvre. This series, executed exclusively in 1964-65 culminated in the exhibition of black paintings at Grosvenor Gallery, London in 1966. Differing critical views on Souza's source of inspiration have alternatively suggested Francisco de Goya's Pinturas Negras series as well as the monochromatic works by Yves Klein. Souza was exposed to the works of conceptual artist Yves Klein, as both were exhibiting in Paris at the Iris Clert Gallery throughout the fifties and sixties.
Souza used black to explore his favorite themes; nudes, portraits, landscapes and cityscapes. In this cityscape, "the substance is black, not the smooth black of pure sensation, but a very palpable black, its solidity created by thick brush strokes in different directions, and by a considerable range of tones according to the paint's direction in relation to the light." (Dennis Duerden, 'F.N. Souza', The Arts Review, London, 14 May 1966, p. 215) Souza deliberately built up the surface with paint, creating a relief-like texture that borders on the sculptural. Furthermore, he demonstrates the inherent tension between nature and civilization. The depth of the night sky and the ominous moon is a viscous force against the buildings and trees below, which become treatises on the conflating powers of man and the natural world.