Cy Twombly: The Rose


Cy Twombly is today one of my favorite living painters. He is an American, living in Europe and USA, and I must confess that I was not very impressed by his work, until I visited a year ago the Bandohrst Museum in Munich, Bavaria, where a lot of his paintings are exhibited, along with a few of his sculptures.

In the Brandhorst there is a room with huge canvases depicting roses. It is these pictures that started the process of my reconsideration of Twombly’s work.

Cy Twombly

The paintings in the Brandhorst are untitled, with the word “Roses” in parenthesis following the untitled.

The artist has produced another series of Roses paintings, this time with the relevant title. They were exhibited in the Gagosian Gallery in London in early 2009, with the title “The Rose”.

Untitled (Roses) - Brandhorst Museum, Munich

This is a set of five large panels, with the painter having scribbled over the paint fragments from Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems in the “Les Roses” cycle.

Titian and Twombly: the most youthful of old masters (Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, February 2009)

One rose alone is all roses
and this one: irreplaceable,
perfect, the supple term
surrounded by the text of things.
How, without her and her
intermittent and continual springing forth,
could we ever express
what were our hopes.
The Rose - Gagosian Gallery


Pressing you, fresh bright rose,

against my eyelid closed—

one might say a thousand


against my warm one.

A thousand nights’ sleep

against my one pretended sleep

in which I roam

through the scented labyrinth.

The Rose (Detail)

Rose (Rilke’s epitaph)

Rose, oh pure contradiction, delight
of being no one’s sleep under so
many lids

Untitled (Roses) – Brandhorst Museum


Rose, so ardent and so bright

that one should call her

Saint Rose’s Reliquary…,

rose that emits this troubling scent of naked saint.

Rose nevermore tempted, disconcerting

for its internal peace; ultimate lover

so far removed from Eve, from her first awareness—

rose that infinitely possesses the loss.

I was not the only one who was and still is (even more) enthusiastic about Twombly’s work after having seen the rose, titled or untitled.

The quote from the Guardian is indicative.

Twombly is up there, with the old masters!

His hands work the paint, press it against the canvas, the sensation of the whole work is as important as the felling you get from the most minute details.

We are talking about a color master who takes us back to the Venetian School.

Abstract Expressionism comes of age and in a cyclical never ending, almost spiral pattern, joins up with Titian!

The feeling of liberation is immense.

The huge canvases absorb the vicissitudes of the world, filter out the bad stuff and exhume only the aroma of the essence of life.

La vie en rose.

Merci Mr. Twombly.


  1. Η ζωη ειναι ωραια, ειτε στα ροζ ειτε σε οτι αλλο θελησουμε εμεις!! Δεν τον γνωριζα μεχρι που σας διαβασα! wikipedia..το μπλογκ σας δασκαλε! Καλο σας βραδυ, καλο βραδυ ατελιε!(αυτες οι συμμαθητριες που ειναι που γυριζουν!)

    • Ορφια!!!!!!!!
      Εχουν παρει τα ορη και τα βουνα οι συμμαθητριες, ιδιαιτερα η Πατρικια της Θρακης!!!!!

  2. Εγω ειμαι εδω και θαυμαζω τα ροδα. Που εγιναν θεμα μελετης του καλλιτεχνη. Πολυ ωραια ολα, ουτε κι εγω τον γνωριζα, αλλα οπως ειπαμε γηρασκω (τροπος του λεγειν δηλαδη) αει διδασκομενη. Την αγαπη μου στο ατελιε.

    • Δεσποιναριον!!!!!!!!!!!
      Γηρασκω και θυμαμαι τον Σωκρατη: εν οιδα οτι ουδεν οιδα

  3. Παρούσα!
    Αν γνώριζα τον καλλιτέχνη και τα έργα του, που δεν τον γνωρίζω, δεν θα τρελλαινόμουν ΑΛΛΑ μέσα από τη δική σας ματιά τον βλέπω διαφορετικά. Θυμήθηκα την αείμνηστη Μελίνα Μερκούρη που όταν ρωτήθηκε να πει την άποψή της για τη γυάλινη πυραμίδα που τοποθετήθηκε μπροστά από το Λούβρο απάντησε ” για να την εγκρίνει ο φίλος μου Ζαγκ Λαγκ πάει να πει ότι είναι ωραία” 🙂
    καλή εβδομάδα στο ατελιέ
    σας ασπάζομαι

    • Ρουλα!!!!!!!!!!!
      Πολυ μου αρεσε αυτο με τη Μελινα, η γυναικα αυτη ηταν χαρμα!!!!!!!!!
      Και με τιμα η γονιμη φαντασια σας να με φερνει ομοτραπεζο με τη Μελινα και τον Λανγκ. Αυτο που γραφεις για τον Τουομπλυ το καταλαβαινω, οι πινακες του απαιτουν ζωντανη αμεση εμπειρια, δεν γινεται απο φωτο και περιγραφες. Οπως τους καταρρακτες του Νιαγαρα δεν μπορει να τους περιγραψεις, πρεπει απλα να πας και να καθησεις εκει να τους δεις.

  4. διόρθωση
    “να πει την άποψή της”
    τώρα το πώς βρέθηκε η άποψη πιο πάνω μόνο η πρες το γνωρίζει!

  5. ουπς! αυτοδιορθώθηκε! καλά, καλά δεν ξαναμιλάω, βγαίνω στην αυλή!

    • αν κοψεςι λιγο βασιλικο, εχεις λιγο σκορδο, και κουκουναρι, φτιαχνεις κι ενα πεστο μουρλια…. ενας φιλος μου ειπε να βαζω στο τελος μια κουταλια παρμεζανα και μια κουταλια πεκορινο

  6. […] Cy Twombly Helen Frankenthaler Jenny Prinn Kerri Rosenthal Lana Williams Mark Rothko Rebecca Klementovich How’s that for a bright start to your Monday? I took a bunch of art history classes in college but I’m embarrassed to say it’s been months since I set foot in a museum. And I live in New York! Something I need to work on for sure. Who are your favorite artists? Do you enjoy abstract art as much as I do? And what are your favorite museums, especially in NYC? I’ll be taking notes! Keep up with Design Darling Boutique / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter […]

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