About This Artwork

Cy Twombly
American, 1928–2011

The Second Part of the Return from Parnassus, 1961

Wax crayon, lead pencil, oil paint, colored pencil on canvas
200 x 260.5 cm (78 3/4 x 102 1/2 in.)

Through prior partial gift of the Stenn Family in memory of Marcia Stenn, 2007.64

© 1961, Edwin P. Twombly, Jr. Trust.

Cy Twombly often titled his early 1960s works with florid evocations of art, myth, and allegory. These paintings, for example, refer to Mount Parnassus, the fabled home of Apollo and the Muses, which became known as the center of poetry, music, and learning in ancient Greece. These early paintings mix regular, system-based forms, numbers, and grids together with irregular, nature-based pictograms and suggestive or intuitive references to corporeal processes—sexual and otherwise. These are aspects of a general practice in which Twombly juxtaposes such marks to connote the dualities of mind and body. In their exuberant scale and color, the artist’s works of 1961 also reflect his response to the great architectural spaces of Rome, embracing the city’s grandeur and decadence in its ancient, Baroque, and modern incarnations.

Interpretive Resources

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