About This Artwork

Cy Twombly
American, 1928–2011

The First Part of the Return from Parnassus, 1961

Oil paint, lead pencil, wax crayon, colored pencil on canvas
240.7 x 300.7 cm (94 3/4 x 118 3/8 in.)

Through prior gift of Mary and Leigh Block; Marian and Samuel Klasstorner and Major Acquistions Endowment Income funds; Wirt D. Walker Trust; Estate of Walter Aitken; Director's Fund; Helen A. Regenstein Endowment; Laura T. Magnuson Acquisition Fund, 2007.63

© 1961, Edwin P. Twombly, Jr. Trust.

Cy Twombly’s famously inimitable art is tensely balanced between expressively abstract and suggestively pictorial impulses. His work originated under the auspices of Abstract Expressionism in the late 1940s and early 1950s and advanced uniquely along lines afforded by its freedoms. Twombly’s entire enterprise is characterized by unruly marks—stammering, energetic, and raw—that merge drawing, painting, writing, and symbolic glyphs. Scrawled, overwritten, erased, or willfully misspelled, words cite people, places, events, and stories nominally derived from Greco-Roman culture and history, especially literature, poetry, and myth.

Interpretive Resources

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