Depicting the high culture of the past in a radical language of highly colored stains and energetic brushwork to forge a distinctive body of work, the American artist, Cy Twombly, is best known for combining the history of Western civilization as well as the process oriented aspects of Abstract Expressionism.
Famous for his childlike doodling unsophisticated graffiti, blackboard chalk drawings and bathroom tagging, Twombly was born Edwin Parker Twombly Jr. on April 25, 1928, in Lexington, Virginia. Following high school,He began formal art training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In 1950, he moved toNew York to study at the Art Student League, where he met Robert Rauschenberg. At Rauschenberg's encouragement, Twombly studied at Black Mountain College in North Caro!ina from 1951 to 1952.
While at the League, Twombly studied with Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell and was introduced to the work of Paul Klee, whose playful approach would remain a lasting influence. On a grant from Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Twombly traveled to Italy and North Africa with Rauschenberg in 1952. From 1953 to 1954, he was drafted into the army, where he served as a cryptographer at Camp Gordon near Augusta, Georgia, and at the Pentagon in Washington, D. C.
From 1955 to 1959, Twombly worked on and off in New York, where he emerged as a significant artist within a group of artists that included Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. But after 1957, he chose to live in Italy.
Twombly's paintings are predominantly large-scale, freely-scribbled, calligraphic and graffiti-like works on solid fields of mostly gray, tan, or off-white colors. Many of his works are in the permanent collections of most of the museums of modern art around the world, including the Menil Collection in Houston, the Tate Modern in London or the New York's Museum of Modern Art. He was also commissioned for the ceiling of a room of the Musée due Louvre in Paris.
Many of his later paintings shifted toward “romantic symbolism”, and their titles can be interpreted visually through shapes and forms and words. Examples of this are his “Apollo and The Artist” and the series of eight drawings consisting solely of inscriptions of the word “VIRGIL”. In 1989, the Philadelphia Museum of Art devoted end entire room to his ten Paintings suite, “Fifty Days at Iliam”, based on Alexander Pope's translation of the Iliad.
Twombly died July 5, 2011, in Rome, Italy, and is survived by his son, the sculptor Alessandro Twombly.