About this artwork
Cy Twombly is best known for a synthesis of drawing, painting, and writing that balances abstract with suggestively pictorial impulses. His inimitable scribbles and scrawls are at once intuitive and sublime, casual or even crude and refined. Twombly made the dynamic, brooding Untitled as one in a suite of fourteen large-scale paintings during the summer of 1969 while ensconced at Palazzo del Drago on the shores of Lake Bolsena in central Italy. Against a rich, creamy ground, he elaborated on the cascades of planar and tubular shapes that had emerged in his painting the year before, using diagram-like forms to imbue the canvas with a sense of spatiotemporal flow, as well as a certain airiness. On the other hand, the white field—darkened here and there by passages of erasure—also takes on the aspect of a heavily revised mathematical worksheet. Twombly was immersed both in his work and in his particular location, titling these paintings with the place-name Bolsena. But while typically he might find inspiration in the history of his ancient rural retreat, in this case he was as attuned to that summer’s defining moment: the Apollo II moon landing. Such context enhances our reading of the painting’s enigmatic visual language of measurement, drift, and direction.
- Cy Twombly
- United States
- Oil-based house paint, wax crayon, and graphite on canvas
- 199.4 × 240 cm (78 1/2 × 94 1/2 in.)
- Gift of Edlis Neeson Collection
- © Cy Twombly Foundation