[Twombly’s] worktables are covered with oil crayons; pencils; tubes of pigment … art books … and a book of modern Greek poems in translation, turned to George Seferis’s “Three Secret Poems.” Several lines of one stanza have been altered by Twombly. ... A section of the edited and spliced poem (with a few new words added by Twombly) is written on the canvas of Summer [Quattro Stagioni], in Twombly’s inimitable, childish scrawl.
Vogue magazine, 1994
In Cy Twombly’s studio, the painter faced the poet. Twombly filled his workspace in southern Italy with books on art and poetry, including numerous translations of George Seferis and C.P. Cavafy. Here, Twombly explored fertile intersections between his visual art and the poetry of Seferis and Cavafy, which the artist repeatedly used in pictorial and sculptural work in the early 1990s. These texts trace the painter’s “active” reading and treatment of poetic verse, which he transforms into pictorial motifs by transferring words to canvas. Through the study of Twombly’s reading of Seferis’ and Cavafy’s poetry, this paper examines the text-image and painting-poetry dialogue throughout the creative process of an influential artist from the New York school.
Anthi-Danae Spathoni studied literature (Greek philology) and art history in Greece and France. She received her Ph.D. (2018) in art history from the University of Rennes II, with a dissertation on “La question du paysage abstrait dans la peinture contemporaine: Cy Twombly et Gerhard Richter.” Her current project explores the reception of antiquity in the work of Cy Twombly and Yannis Kounellis. Her first book Twombly: A Selection of Essays was published in 2019, with the support of the Cy Twombly Foundation and Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio. Anthi-Danae has also published in exhibition catalogs and international journals. She has worked as a curatorial researcher at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She is a Fulbright fellow and a visiting researcher at Princeton University for the 2022-23 academic year.
Supported by the Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund
Image: Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1993, (Acrylic, lead pencil on wooden panel, 195,5x152cm) © Cy Twombly Foundation