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Alexandra Bircken: A–Z

Museum Brandhorst
Theresienstraße 35A 80333 München
Lepanto-Saal von Cy Twombly im Museum Brandhorst, München: 12-teiliger Gemäldezyklus in einem halbrunden Raum

Cy Twombly’s Lepanto Cycle: 1571 – 2001 – 2021

  • LanguageEnglish
  • Time of day7:00 PM until 8:30 PM
  • Duration90 minutes
  • RegistrationRegistration is possible via München Ticket.


On the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the historic Battle of Lepanto we take a critical look at one of Museum Brandhorst’s main works: What does Cy Twombly’s 12-part painting cycle “Lepanto” say about the interpretation of that politically charged event?


The victory of the so-called “Holy League”, comprising Venice, Pope Pius V and Spain, over the Ottoman Empire on October 7, 1571, has since been mythically exaggerated as a propagandistic event by various parties in Europe: First in Counter-Reformation rhetoric against the “infidels,” later in the wake of nineteenth-century nationalist movements and fascism, and finally in the discussions surrounding a “clash of civilizations” in the 1990s, which found their supposed confirmation in the coverage following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Thus, many of the references to the Battle of Lepanto serve an ideological division: between West and East, Christianity and Islam, supposed reason and fanaticism. Lepanto has also been a popular motif in European painting since Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. Twombly’s cycle was created in 2001 for the Venice Biennale – shortly before the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.


A study day, entitled “Lepanto 1571 - 2001 - 2021,” will be held at Museum Brandhorst on October 6, 2021, in cooperation with the Central Institute for Art History, to discuss the constellations and contexts laid out in Twombly’s painting cycle. The day’s findings will be explored in a public panel discussion at 7 p.m. The event will take place in front of the originals in the Lepanto Gallery of Museum Brandhorst.


The aim is to gain new perspectives precisely from the conflicts and surprising cross-connections. The points of reference are manifold; Twombly’s cycle is particularly suitable for examining modern art history against the background of current debates: From questions of cultural memory to a postcolonial critique of “primitivist” stylistic devices in modernism to aspects of cultural appropriation.


Panel discussion with Hannah Baader, Phillip Eckart, Anselm Franke, Gabriele Genge, Achim Hochdörfer, Julia Modes, Stefan Neuner, Benjamin Paul, Bernd Roeck, Maria Stavrinaki, Ursula Ströbele, Gerhard Wolf.


Moderation: Ralph Ubl

In cooperation with the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Central Institute for Art History)



Doors open: 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Lepanto Gallery


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