Cy Twombly "Bacchus"

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Bryan Prillwitz
3/27/11

Blood-wine red vermillion coils scrawled across those flesh colored canvases. The dripping that extends to the bottom part of the canvas to form pools. The furious and insane god’s whirling body.

“Dionysus stands for both “Psilax” the “winged” one, and also Dionysus the “manic” (ho maneis - the mad one). The schism of subject-matter – concerning both ‘metamorphosis and rage’, as Twombly has characterized these paintings – is echoed in their execution”.

“Psilax” means pleasure and sensual release. “Mainomenos” means debauchery bordering on the nihilistic.

My paintings are Dionysian, and divided.

Twombly called his paintings ‘metamorphosis and rage’.

I see a metamorphosis brought on by that rage, an oneness, a kind of simplicity, in bringing forth one’s own spiritual children. The coming together of desire and emotion, a kind of combination of Psilax and Mainomenos.


N. Cullinan and N. Serota: ‘Ecstatic Impulses’: Cy Twombly’s “Untitled (Bacchus)”, 2006-08’, The Burlington Magazine v. 152 (September2010) p. 613-616. 

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