Monday, October 19, 2009

An American in Paris

As part of attempts to rejuvenate its archaic structure and blend old artistic traditions with new and emerging art, the Louvre recently commissioned Cy Twombly to paint a ceiling mural on the ceiling of its room of 16th-century bronzes. This project is among several others in the staff of the museum hopes will add a modern edge. Twombly, born in 1928, is an American painter who broke away from the 1950s New York art tradition to create something completely different from the pervasive ideas of Pop Art, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism. His inspirations stem from Greek sculpture and myths, giving a splendid oxymoronic modern antiquity to his works. The Yale Art Gallery describes his works as
an affirmation of a reading of the vigorous, multidirectional lines across its surface as an abstract visual language. Twombly is known for his consistent interrogation of the practice of painting as a vehicle for expression and articulation. Playing the tools of abstraction (line and form) against words and more figurative elements, the artist has developed an abstract vocabulary that is emotionally and visually dynamic.
His masterful hybridization of graffiti, painting and drawing has granted him special admiration in Europe.

During the Renaissance, it was common for painters to take in apprentices, who would sometimes paint commissioned works themselves. Twombly does just that. He has asked Barbara Crawford, a Southern Virginia University professor to help him paint the canvas that will later be fastened to the ceiling. Twombly was the primary designer of the piece, and Crawford will be its primary executor. The American Scholar describes the painting process:
Before the work commenced, studies and evaluations were conducted to judge the most effective materials and process to realize Twombly’s vision for the ceiling. Originally there were plans for panels made of fiberglass. The final decision was to have Twombly’s rendering painted in oil on strips of connected canvas, which would in turn be glued to the ceiling in a process known as Marouflage—not unlike a grand version of wallpaper, only overhead, and in a place fit for kings. It’s a process that was used quite commonly in Europe from the 16th to the 19th centuries, gradually falling out of practice in recent years.

For the first time since 1953, a living artist’s work will adorn a ceiling of the museum.

Here are a few examples of Cy Twombly's work

The following pictures document current progress on the Louvre-Cy Twombly collaboration.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Twombly studied under Daura.