Cy Twombly

What's on: Cy Twombly


The operatic melodrama and pseudo-historical pomposity of old Cy Twombly may induce the occasional comic twitch of the lips but the sheer chutzpah of his painterly chops still awes. “Lepanto” may have looked its very best in the entirely suitable surroundings of Venice during the last Biennale but this “one painting in 12 parts” (above, detail) is pretty damn irresistible also at chez Gagosian in Chelsea (until 22 February). Perhaps there is particular resonance in having this themed suite of war pictures, based around the sea battle against the Ottoman invasion, on display in a gallery within sight of the WTC devastation, some sort of mad coda to that long Islamic-Christian legacy of pious aggression and worshipful destruction. The war ships on the adjacent Hudson make the heroics of “Lepanto” seem utterly relevant.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 122 February 2002