The complex oeuvre of the American artist Cy Twombly (1928–2011) comprises a time period of around six decades, during which it never lost any of its expressive power. Twombly was one of the most productive artists in the history of more recent art. Acclaimed as one of the most important painters of the second half of the twentieth century, he fused the legacy of American Abstract Expressionism with European and Mediterranean culture.
The book focuses to a degree never before seen on his major cycles: Nine Discourses on Commodus (1963), Fifty Days at Iliam (1978), and Coronation of Sesostris (2000). The artist's development as a whole is traced based on nearly 200 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs. This thus provides unique insights into the overall intellectual and sensual richness of the oeuvre. From his early works at the beginning of the nineteen-fifties, which are characterized by the use of text, to his compositions of the nineteen-sixties, his reaction to the minimal art and conceptual art of the nineteen-seventies to his final paintings, the overview of the oeuvre underscores the significance of the series and cycles in which Cy Twombly invented history painting anew.