The King of hypnotic scribbles, symbols and abstract art, Cy Twombly was a very illusionary artist. Twombly was ever the modernistic artist yet his inspirations drew from the works of poets like John Keats, Rainer Maria Rike to anything and everything around him. For him life itself was also an inspiration for his art. Though he garnered influence and respect amongst other fellow artists, Twombly’s art did leave others slightly mystified and confused from time to time. His art was also difficult to comprehend by the general public, for it was so rough and abstract at times – in simple words a little too all over the place.
Twombly’s approach to art may have been due to his unusual upbringing. Born Edwin Parker Twombly Jr on April 25, 1928 in Lexington, Virginia, the name ‘Cy’ was given to him by his father – who was also nicknamed Cy. His father was a baseball pitcher, and rather than following into his footsteps Twombly preferred to dabble into the arts. Twombly’s initial foray into the art world exposed him to many of the greats including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock, the latter two from which he got a chance to study art a lot. Twombly’s style is distinctive due to his excessive use of scribbles, calligraphy, and graffiti on a large scale. Twombly also worked a lot with mostly off-white and grey scale colors, a viewer would seldom find Twombly’s works in different colors. These colors were Twombly’s comfort zone in many ways. Despite the viewer’s difficulty in understanding Twombly’s art, his work graces art galleries around the world including the Tate Modern in London, MOMA in New York. Twombly was even commissioned to do the ceiling of a room in the Louvre in Paris; there are a lot of lovers of his work who share a deep affinity for his craft.
In his work The Italians, Cy Twombly showcases his unique style in a wonderful way. The viewer may think it’s just a few scribbles here and there but upon looking closely there is a strange depth to Twombly’s work. It is Twombly at his experimental best in The Italians. Another work of his which dilutes the viewer is Leda and the Swan. To the eye its Twombly’s signature style of scribbles – almost like the drawing of an 8 year old, very cartoonish in certain aspects. The scribbles in fact form a giant mass of feathers thus giving the viewer the Swan in Leda and the Swan and where or what Leda is, no one knows. Twombly’s move to Italy enabled him to experiment a lot more with his style, where his inspirations expanded to mythology, poetry and history. Italy enabled him to expand his portfolio to sculptures as well, these varied in shapes and sizes and were always coated in white paint. Twombly also experimented with drawing inspiration from all four seasons; he made paintings of all four seasons aptly naming each Summer, Spring, Autumn and Winter. All paintings comprised of flowers as they would stand in each season, like in Spring the flowers in the painting are in full lush bright colors where as in Winter the flowers have been showcased as gray, decaying and having no spirit. It is said that Twombly’s work is so eccentrically unique that it inspired legions of admirers like Anselm Kiefer, Julian Schnabel, and Francesco Clemente.