Cy Twombly: Leaving Paphos Ringed with Waves
This book was published on the occasion of the exhibition Cy Twombly: Leaving Paphos Ringed with Waves at Gagosian, Merlin Street, Athens. The paintings in the titular series from 2009 were inspired by Guy Davenport’s translation of a quotation from the seventh-century-BCE choral lyric poet Alkman. Twombly’s abbreviation of the original line announces the departure from Paphos, a city sacred to the goddess Aphrodite.
In Twombly’s vivid large-scale canvases, a recurring boat ideograph represents passage and exile, voyaging and homecoming, death and imperial decline. The painter imparts new vigor to the motif and its accompanying script, applying hot vermilions and rich yellows to expanses of brilliant turquoise ocean.
The publication documents the four paintings in the series, each included as a tip-in, and features new essays by author, artist, and professor of philosophy Demosthenes Davvetas and British art historian Mary Jacobus. Jacobus’s text is additionally illustrated with a painting, drawing, and photograph by the artist.