“I have infinite longing to see and feel these ancient wonders. My work thirsts for their contact”.
“… and when I entered the Mediterranean, I thought I was in paradise!!” Cy Twombly
For the first time, 30 works by the great contemporary American artist Cy Twombly, inspired by his fascination with Greek mythology and his close ties with Greece, will be presented alongside 12 ancient artworks, revealing a unique and original dialogue between ancient Greek and contemporary art.
Hosted by the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens (MCA), “DIVINE DIALOGUES: Cy Twombly and Greek Antiquity” showcases some of the artist’s most representative drawings and sculptures such as Venus (1975), Pan (1975), Nike (1981), Apollo (1975), Dionysus (1975), Orpheus (1979), Aristaeus mourning the loss of his bees (1973) and Aphrodite Anadyomene (1979). These works will “converse” with a series of ancient artworks such as the Torso of Aphrodite Anadyomene from the Archaeological Museum of Paphos, the Relief with representation of Orpheus, Eurydice, and Hermes from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, the Statue of Dionysus from the Archaeological Museum of Eleusis, the Statuette of Apollo and the Figurine of winged Nike from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. The rare juxtaposition has been achieved thanks to the support of the Cy Twombly Foundation.
An exhibition highlight is the famous François Vase, also known as the Kleitias and Ergotimos Krater, a milestone in the development of ancient Greek pottery and vase painting, which will travel for the first time outside Italy, from the Archaeological Museum of Florence. It’s been said that the François Vase is so unique that, even if all other ancient Greek vases were lost, it alone could illustrate Greek mythology and the code of Archaic Greek art.
WHEN: May 25 – September 3. Entry is €7. (Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10.00-17.00, Thursday: 10.00-20.00, Sunday: 11.00-17.00, Tuesday: Closed.)
WHERE: Museum of Cycladic Art, Neophytou Douka 4, Athens, tel: 210.722.8321, www.cycladic.gr
About the Artist
Cy Twombly (1928-2011) was born in Lexington, Virginia. He began studying painting at the Boston Museum School and at Washington and Lee University in Lexington. In 1950 he studied at the Art Students League of New York, where he became friends with Robert Rauschenberg. In 1951-52, he spent several semesters at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he attended courses taught by Robert Motherwell and Ben Shahn, among others, and made the acquaintance of John Cage. Thanks to a travelling scholarship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, he traveled to Europe and North Africa in 1952-53, journeying through France, Spain, Italy, and Morocco, being joined at the latter by Rauschenberg. Back in the US, they shared a studio on Fulton Street in New York and participated in an exhibition at the Stable Gallery in the fall of 1953.
Following his military service, a one-year teaching assignment in Virginia, and further exhibitions at the Stable Gallery in New York, he began spending more and more time in Italy from the spring of 1957 on. He had his first solo exhibition in Rome at Galleria La Tartaruga in 1958. In 1959 he married Baroness Tatiana Franchetti, who came from an old Roman family of art patrons; their son Cyrus Alessandro was born that same year. During the following years he spent the summer months traveling the Mediterranean countries -Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia- and often spent the winter in New York, or in Lexington where he had rented a studio, or with Rauschenberg on Captiva Island in Florida. In addition to his various studios in Rome, he also used a house in Bassano in Teverina for larger works and bought and renovated the house in 1975. From 1983 until his death, he lived and worked in Gaeta, a seaport situated between Rome and Naples.
For many years Twombly’s work was better known in Europe than in US. He was finally discovered and recognized in his native country in the wake of a large-scale retrospective curated by Kirk Varnedoe in 1944-95 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which then moved on to Houston and Los Angeles. Twombly was subsequently showered with prizes and international awards including the Praemium Imperiale in 1996- and honored in exhibitions and retrospectives in the great museums of the world. His works were exhibited numerous times at the Venice Biennale: his drawings in 1980; his nine-piece cycle of “green paintings” in 1989; and his twelve-part Lepanto cycle in 2001 (now in the holdings of the Museum Brandhorst in Munich).
The Cy Twombly Gallery, a museum dedicated solely to his work, was designed by Renzo Piano in close cooperation with Twombly and opened its doors in 1995 on thecampus of the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas.
Cy Twombly died at the age of 83 on 5 July 2011 in Rome.
*Pictures courtesy of the Cy Twombly Foundation
Insider Weekly, May 24, 2017.