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Critical analysis of Cy Twomblys work Essay (Critical Writing)



This paper is an exploration of the work of Cy Twombly. It is based on the critical evaluation of his work by different authors like Bataille, Krauss, Mallarme and others. There is much detailed focus on how his work was perceived by many and the reception that it enjoyed.

The work of Twombly has fallen out to be the centerpiece for quite some debate in the theoretical world concerning his nature and the writings posed. On key focus will be the period between 1950 and 1970 where there are two major paintings, that is the Olympia (1957) and the Herodiade (1960), where he articulated scripting as an art that incorporates lassitude instead of violence.


His imposing eminence has an atmosphere of myth and uncertainty, for rationales that have to a certain extent concerned with the indistinctness of the artist himself, but further to do with the spectacle of his artwork.

Twombly first came to fame in the anon 1950s. This was when his graffiti-like pencil-work materialized to challenge “Abstract Expressionism”. Yet he subsequently sustained “painterly” notion through a moment in the 1960’s when the descriptions of group culture and also the certainties of abstract geometry gave the impression intended to kill it off.

While associated by generational attachment and acquaintance to Robert Rauschenberg also to Jasper Johns, he at the same time has endured from the verity that different from their work, his work tells slight in replica, and also provides no suitable access into Pop-art. The fundamentals of ironic pragmatism in their respective artwork have been well thought-out to be progressive and accustomed with postmodern responsiveness (Barthes 181) (a).

Twombly’s exclusive combinations of exposed astringency and physical indulgence have gone ahead to prove harder to impound within such orderly generalizations. He has then auxiliary distanced his name from his colleagues by taking on the classical history and realization for epic plot in an epoch when such kinds of models came into view as wholly abandoned.

In accumulation, his vocation has time and again sought after its individual poetics by appealing to the legacy of writing, during a lengthy period in which the term “literary” was viewed as a kind of condemnation. These various commitments, and their creators, have never established a ready position in the books of the evolution of art ever since 1950 (Barthes 91) (b).

The countless books, magazines and catalogues that have been seen to canonize the line of artists ranging from people like the famous Pollock to others like Warhol as the conventional of American art’s pre-eminence have characteristically neglected Twombly more willingly than argue with the ways his enclosure might interrupt that story’s surge. Some artists have been heard saying that Twombly has a problem with his originality and being himself tot an extent that he seems not to fit in the current time but way out of it.

That appraisal cannot suit: no individual has such sovereignty, and obviously, Twombly’s art is exclusively contemporary. Increasing efforts to tie him to the artwork of his occasion have left many; however, with a mysteriously piecemeal structure of interpretations – some which only appears to be pretentious of enough span and concentration to enfold the intricate achievements of the vocation itself.

For over more or less three decades, he has been over and over again “re-discovered” by American reviewers, in a variety of ways. The white-on-grey paintings that he made in the delayed 1960s were hailed to have had an anti sensual, intellectual sparseness that allied them to Minimalism-and-Conceptual art; and the appeal to linguistic representations of criticism paying special attention to the participation of markings, writings, and graphical figurations in his toil.

Then, more significant, American attentiveness of European modern art prolonged: in the 1970s a brighter focal point on the art of one artist, Joseph Beuys vexed with imposing myths and history, but in addition esoterically delicate and tied to a corporal animism commenced a re-orientation that privileged Twombly in a variety of other ways; and the initiation of a new-fangled painterly-expressionism in the 1970s, in artists who were as different as Anselm Kiefer and also some like Francesco Clemente, additionally catalyzed a spanking new evaluation of the importance of Twombly.

Most recently, a weighed down apprehension with sexuality has become visible among modern-day artists whose anti official expressivity and openness in relation to the body has unlocked still an additional opportunity into Twombly’s multifaceted achievement.

There are some frames of indication which were erstwhile used in the past which could give a good impression of what he artist was doing. Some of such frames include abstract and neo expressionism and minimal. Also in the same field we have conceptual artworks and neo data among others.

Taken in succession, nevertheless, all these fundamentals has had a propensity to leave out or in other different terms ignore the rest, and not a bit accounts for the charisma contained by Twombly’s art of all, and further, conflicting ambiance of emotion. casual impetuosity and compulsive systems; the taint urge towards what is the base and also the corresponding adoration for lyrical poetry and also the magnificent heritage of lofty Western culture; in print words, as well as systems, ideographic signs, geometry, and conceptual finger-work with smear all solicit to be implicit in performance.

In that intricacy, this art has demonstrated influential amongst artists, off-putting to loads of critics, and truculently complicated not only for a wide public, but also for stylish set off of post-war art too.

It will more or less certainly carry on to resist ready reception by a wide addressees, as its meticulous impact depends in a so strong manner on the kind of undeviating response to material presence that is opposed to expression and unwelcoming to analysis. In the wide-ranging prose on Twombly, many susceptible writers and finely tuned theoreticians have by now struggled with that complexity, in efforts to take into custody poetically the appealing force of his job, and to also to analyze its remarkable artistic structure.

Twombly’s work in this case bears closer similarity to the Athenian “ostraka”, or in a way to the archaeological collection of disconnected inscriptions, or yet to the philological effort of reinstating textual wreckage, such as the exertion of the Greek humorist dramatist Menander, to a large extent of which lived to tell the tale as papyrus linings found in Egyptian sarcophagi.

In a way, Twombly’s labor points to the reality that work of art and “deconstruction,” as it was supposed to be are all integral to each another. For Twombly this is a question of communications of assemblage more willingly than a surface consequence of sense or visual (even “anti-artistic”) spectacles- hence the complicatedness with indulgence of this effort in terms plainly of what Krauss terms as “graffiti” (Louis 231).

For Krauss, Twombly’s painting can on the other hand be comprehended primarily as a re-coding of Jackson Pollock’s words. To hold up the claim of this subordination (one does speculate how such phrases come to be relevant in particular to Pollock’s floor paintings), Krauss fits into place in textual examination, focusing in the lead of another of Twombly’s conventional references, Mars, the Roman god of combat: “the performative, operational logic of scatology also comes to operate in Twombly’s work upon the clean and proper idea of the whole body [whose?]. And even on the clean and proper idea of the proper name.”

In a poetic twist which takes us from the Duchamp/Pollock partnership, Krauss brings to a close: “The attractiveness of Twombly’s exterior … brings into play the lingo of flowers’ as it as well initiates the depressing game.”

The rationale for the poetic twist may merely be, on the other hand, that subsequent to M / ARS, Krauss had deplete his classical references found in Twombly’s efforts that could hence be bowed to the tune-up of school courtyard obscenity. It may be, in spite of everything that what Twombly made it in lowering, is the serious guard of confident present-day art theorists who are too eager to enroll him to the grounds of one significant archetype or another.

Krauss, time and again a perceptive writer on structural design and cinematography, stumbles deficiently when attempting to deal with “painting,” for the most part because of a profession built in the lead of the ruling out of “Abstract Expressionism” and “painting” as to be from the progressive representation of art intricate as a shift towards the post modern.

That is to articulate, an artwork, which seems to exemplify a “technological advancement,” from Futurism, Cubism, and also Constructivism, to the beginning of digital art as well as virtual art (Krauss 250).

The political fundamentals of Krauss’s job mean that recognizing the technical aspects of Twombly’s “painting” turns out to be a virtually impracticable task, being the root for it to be abridged instead to an excellent form of quality of sound or entropy. In fact, a depressing end point of work of art per se.

This gives the impression to be the reason Krauss and Bois are searching for in their learning of the “formless,” a decisive paradigm that shall at once put forward painting to an up to standard theoretical machinery (Bataille here), and to picture it to a outward appearance of auto critique in opposition to which no prospect claims for work of art, in a positivistic logic, would be probable (Bastian 45).

Far from providing credibility to such a development, Twombly’s work terminally arouses problems to it by way of a subtle incursion of techniques and also to discursivity. These issues which are under the semblance of a discomfited neo classicism usually affects a counter fraud in which the significant “paradigms” of Krauss and Bois get fascinated ahead of some instance, falling casualty to their individual bluff.


Concluding the above discussion, it is worth o note that the work of Twombly remains to be vested on paintering with a textual origin and some technological impact. And while we might profitably outlook Twombly’s unrestrained organization of work in retrospect, there tends to be little or no proceeds to be put on from essaying a very last remark on the connotation of his artwork, or yet that of his ARS (Varnedoe 27).

Works Cited

Barthes, Roland (a). ‘The Wisdom of Art’, in Cy Twombly: Paintings and Drawings1954-1977, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1979. print.

Barthes, Roland (b). ‘Cy Twombly: Works on Paper’ and ‘The Wisdom of Art,’ in

Howard, Richard. The Responsibility of Forms: Critical Essays on Music, Art and Representation. Berkeley: California University Press, 1985. print.

Bastian, Heiner. Cy Twombly: Poems to the Sea. New York: Dia Center for the Arts, 1990. print.

Krauss, Rosalind. The Optical Unconscious. London: MIT Press, 1996. print.

Louis, Armand, Fifty Years of Works on Paper – Cy Twombly. Munich: Pinakothek der Moderne, 2004. print.

Varnedoe, Kirk. Cy Twombly: A Retrospective. New York: MoMA, 1994. print.

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"Critical analysis of Cy Twomblys work." IvyPanda, 30 Nov. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/critical-analysis-of-cy-twomblys-work/.

1. IvyPanda. "Critical analysis of Cy Twomblys work." November 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/critical-analysis-of-cy-twomblys-work/.


IvyPanda. "Critical analysis of Cy Twomblys work." November 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/critical-analysis-of-cy-twomblys-work/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Critical analysis of Cy Twomblys work." November 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/critical-analysis-of-cy-twomblys-work/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Critical analysis of Cy Twomblys work'. 30 November.

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