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Lepanto. Cy Twombly
Catalogue

Lepanto. Cy Twombly

Lepanto. Cy Twombly

Madrid 6/26/2008 - 9/28/2008

In the year 2001, Harald Szeemann commissioned Cy Twombly to make a work that would be relevant to the Plateau of Humankind exhibition organized by the Venice Biennale, melancholic farewell of modernity in the threshold between two centuries. For this exceptional event, the American painter created a large narrative cycle dedicated to the famous naval battle that took place, in the Gulf of Lepanto on the 7th of October 1571, between the Ottoman Turks and the so-called “Holy League”, a Christian coalition formed by Spain, Venice and the Papacy.

Beyond its historical significance as an allied victory over Turkish expansionism, the Battle of Lepanto became a fascinating subject for visual narration by contemporary artists supported by the winners: Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and Cambiaso, among others. An important number of these artistic consequences of Lepanto arrived in Spain. In fact, Twombly first became interested in this subject thanks to depictions of the naval battle represented in tapestries based on paintings made for Philip II by Luca Cambiaso and now at the Escorial.

The presence of Lepanto in Spain, specifically at the Museo del Prado, updates the historical importance of large narrative cycles of paintings, especially the series of battles that forma fundamental core of the Royal Collection. At the same time, Twombly’s extraordinary frieze introduces a new link into that fabulous sequence of the “Venetian tradition”, majestically embodied at the Prado since the early Hapsburg’s relationship with Titian and now reaches our time with unbroken continuity.

Access

Room C. Jerónimos Building

Supported by:
Acciona

Exhibition

Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly
Portrait, Cy Twombly ©Sankei Shimbun Co., Ltd.

Among the American artists who first came to prominence in the late 1950s, as the great juggernaut of Abstract Expressionism was waning, Cy Twombly (Lexington, Virginia 1928) remained closest to the earlier generation´s belief in the primacy of the gesture, developing an inimitable handwriting that became the essence of his painting along with the use of the word evoking mythological figures and events as an inherent compositional element and the gradual incorporation of color.

Raised in Lexington, sanctuary of the American Civil War and the Virginia Military Institute, Twombly has always shown an interest for military and nautical subjects and their codification. Insatiable traveller and connoisseur of the Mediterranean, his fascination for the classical world led him to establish himself in Italy in 1957, where he resides most of the year.

This will be the series’ last exhibition before it is definitively installed at the Brandhorst Museum in Munich.

Artworks

1

Lepanto VII

Wax on canvas, 216.5 x 340.4 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

3

Lepanto IX

Wax on canvas, 215.3 x 335.3 cm

 

5

Lepanto II

Wax on canvas, 217.2 x 312.4 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

6

Lepanto V

Wax on canvas, 215.9 x 303.5 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

8

Lepanto I

Wax on canvas, 210.8 x 287.7 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

9

Lepanto XII

Wax on canvas, 214.6 x 293.4 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

10

Lepanto IV

Wax on canvas, 214 x293.4 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

11

Lepanto VI

Wax on canvas, 211.5 x 304.2 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

12

Lepanto III

Wax on canvas, 215.9 x 334 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung
 

13

Lepanto XI

Wax on canvas, 216.2 x 335.9 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

14

Lepanto X

Wax on canvas, 215.9 x 334 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

15

Lepanto VIII

Wax on canvas, 215.9 x 334 cm

2001

Udo und Anette Brandhorst Stiftung

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