Twombly, Cy © Tate, London 2015. Quattro Stagioni (A Painting in Four Parts). Installation shot: Nigel Green.
The monumental cycle of paintings, Quattro Stagioni [Four Seasons], represents the four seasons by one of the great American painters of the second half of the 20th century, Cy Twombly (1928 – 2011).
Twombly, based for most of his life in Rome, often drew inspirations from literature, history and beauty he found in European culture. He adopted the new freedom found in the development of process-based American painting and translated these classical European references into layers of visual responses which were sensual and emotional, with an emphasis on mark making and calligraphy.
Twombly, Cy © Tate, London 2015. Quattro Stagioni (A Painting in Four Parts). Installation shot: Nigel Green
One of the key subjects of Western art, the four seasons are symbols of the natural cycles of birth and death – a classical theme in poetry, music and painting. The cycle began with Autunno [Autumn], inspired by the wine harvest in Bassano in Teverina, Italy. Primavera [Spring] features a column of vibrant yellow light on red curves which relate to traditional Egyptian rowing boats from the Book of the Dead. The boat forms are repeated in Estate [Summer] together with the partially legible fragments from a poem by the Greek poet George Seferis (1900-71) referring to the transience of youth and the passage of time. In Inverno [Winter], the boats are depicted in an altered state in heavy black paint conveying a sense of winter’s harsh winds and bleak cold. Each at oer three metres high, these four parts of Quattro Stagioni will be presented on four walls in the gallery.
Quattro Stagioni complements the Project Art Works exhibition in Gallery 1 In The Realm Of Others and provides an alternative reference for exploring the spectrum of artistic production, challenging audiences to discover the meaning in the artistic process.