Many critics derided his art as childish doodling in a time when high browed, high art seriousness catering for abstract expressionistic ideals found little room for Cy's eloquent yearnings for a time long past. During the 50's and 60's his art was appreciated more by Europeans than Americans. Nevertheless, as art movements came and went art experts began to recognise and appreciate what he was attempting to do almost singlehandedly. There wasn't much room for his rarefied nostalgia in the mid 20th century when technology began pushing society towards a utopic brave new world.
Twombly's scribblings and drippings seem puerile at first glance but once his overall project of reconstituting old stories into poetic pictorial form are seen for what it is, it is obvious how original his work is. It's true that some painters prior to him had attempted to resurrect the depiction of Greek and Roman legends and that there is a European legacy of painting containing mythological subjects. Cy is the first to remove human figures from his compositions and replace direct illustration with symbols, colours and text that are evocative and suggestive of past figures and events.
Cy Twombly caught my attention early in my development and caused me to reflect more deeply about what i was attempting to do. I began to re-think how i was using the picture elements and saw the possibilities in allusion rather than illusion. Cy's use of colour and line showed me how powerful a picture could be when basic elements were amplified to evince ideas or subject matter. His paintings may not be to everyones liking but for me his dynamic mark making and reduced palette display such a balanced surface economy which always leaves me in a state of inspired admiration.
Cy was a retiring and private individual so there is little video footage of interviews or documentaries about his life and work. Nevertheless, there are plenty of images of his work online to view. I hope you'll be inspired by his work like i still am 20 years on.