Cy Twombly, Making Past Present

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Luscious reproductions of more than 50 of Twombly's paintings,  drawings and little-known sculptures, along with classical works of art,  tell the story of an American abstractionist’s poetical dialogue with  antiquity

Cy Twombly’s first visit to Italy as a young man ignited a lifelong passion for the ancient world that is everywhere present in his art. Painted canvases, works on paper, and small-scale sculptures reveal the historical soul of Twombly’s abstract compositions. Taking on classical myths and heroes as personal guides, he created a psychologically complex dialogue with the visual and literary arts of antiquity.This sumptuously illustrated book reproduces a carefully chosen selection of the artist’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures alongside works of classical antiquity, including a number from his personal collection. Illuminating essays by leading scholars explore the profound and often enigmatic engagement of Twombly’s art with the world of the past. 

About the Author

Christine Kondoleon is George D. and Margo Behrakis Chair, Art of Ancient Greece and Rome, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Kate Nesin is Adjunct Curator, Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 


  • Authors : Christine Kondoleon with Kate Nesin, with contributions by Anne Carson, Jennifer R. Gross, Brooke Holmes, and Mary Jacobus
  • 170 color illustrations
  • Hardcover :  264 pages 
  • 170 color illustrations
  • Product Dimensions :  9.5 x 1.25 x 11 inches 
  • Publisher :  MFA Publications, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (August 25, 2020)