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.
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”.
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)
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.
Rose (Rilke’s epitaph)
Rose, oh pure contradiction, delight
of being no one’s sleep under so
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!
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 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.