Leaving Paphos Ringed with Waves (III), Cy Twombly, 2009. Acrylic on canvas. The Broad, Los Angeles. © Cy Twombly Foundation.

Reading Cy Twombly Backwards


The Getty Center and Online

This is a past event

Like few of his peers at the vanguard of postwar American art, Cy Twombly (1928–2011) appreciated the richness of the world’s ancient Mediterranean cultures and mined it for inspiration. Throughout his career, he created thousands of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and prints inspired by artifacts from the ancient past. As he stated, “Modern Art isn’t dislocated, but something with roots, tradition, and continuity. For myself, the past is the source (for all art is vitally contemporary).” In this lecture, curator Christine Kondoleon explores the artist’s lifelong fascination with antiquity—from mythology and poetry to war and memorials—and how it shaped his creative vision.

Dr. Christine Kondoleon is the George Behrakis Chair of the Art of Ancient Greece and Rome at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. As Chair she has led the renovations and reinterpretations of 12 new galleries of Greek, Roman and Byzantine art for the Behrakis Wing of Ancient Art at the MFA Boston that opened in December 2021. She is the curator of Cy Twombly: Making Past Present and the editor of the accompanying exhibition catalogue. In addition to publications of MFA Boston’s world-renowned collection, she has also organized the exhibition Games for the Gods (2004), and her Aphrodite and the Gods of Love, the first exhibition on the goddess of love (2011). Her special field is later Roman and early Byzantine art and mosaics.

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