While familiarizing myself with the Permanent Collection (i.e., looking at great art while getting paid), I overheard an elderly man analyzing and describing a Rothko for his wife's benefit. Here is my recollection:
Husband: Well, obviously that is the ground...
Wife: Oh, ok.
Husband: and this (pointing to the next block of color) is trees, bushes, and things on the ground...
Husband: and this is the sky.
Wife: What is that purple square above the sky?
Husband: Well, that must be atmosphere and space.
Wife: Oh, well now I get it.
It was rather heartfelt and humorous to hear someone so erroneously describe the painting. Turning to them to tell them what it really was that they were looking at wasn't what needed to be done.
The husband saw that his wife needed something to appreciate the color field of canvas, or to justify spending $20.00 a ticket to get into the museum to see such kinds of work, and he provided it the best he could.