Cy Twombly (1928-2011)



Cy Twombly is regarded as one of the most important artists of our time, painter and sculptor. His works are present in many permanent collections of major museums around the world, and he was commissioned to paint one of the ceilings in the Louvre of Paris.


He was born in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia and studied art in New York in the 50’s. Later he travelled around the Mediterranean and settled in Rome for most of his life. He had an Italian wife and a son, Allessandro Twombly who is a recognized artist as well. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 83.

Cy Twombly knew de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. His art has been characterized as being between abstract expressionism and pop, street art and graffiti, and at the same time minimalist.

In any case his art is an attempt to give form to the inner world, like the Renaissance artists he admired gave form to the outer world.

He said his paintings are simultaneously about nothing and everything.

They are portraits of our inner life, showing without representing.

He is scribbling titles and dates and bits of poetry (of Rilke for example) on the canvases, scribbles, then covers up, layering and giving the paintings depth also where the canvas is apparently blank. Sometimes it looks like automatic writing, , crossed out, covered up. His technique was extremely simple , with a childish character, combining innocence and wisdom.

He was extremely productive and worked fast. For example in 1959 he created the 24 drawings for Poems to the Sea in one day.

Looking at Cy Twomblys paintings now online, it is true that many of them evoke deep feelings that are hard to define. I would love to see some of his large scale art in reality as I can imagine how much deeper the effect then.

I have just been spending two days trying to learn how to draw a bottle and a can, and feel more cramped up and stiff than ever while drawing, and looking at Cy Twomblys work today was loosening up some of that stiffness, inviting more playfulness. There is such a precision in evoking a certain feeling, but the form can be so loose and light- a good lesson today!





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