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Brandhorst Flag Commission: Nora Turato

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Cy Twombly at Museum Brandhorst

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Untitled („THE MATHEMATICAL DREAM OF ASHURBANIPAL“) (Lexington)

Artwork Factory

Four boxes, nails, cardboard written in felt-tip pen, white plaster dried mid-flow and a mystical-sounding title. The lower part of the sculpture is made of wood, while three round steps resting on it, somewhat reminiscent of a cake, are made of cardboard. The object is about a meter high and cast with a mixture of plaster, which in turn resembles a kind of glaze.

Cy Twombly was interested in myths, events and personalities of antiquity and the ancient Orient. This sculpture is dedicated to Ashurbanipal, who was king of the Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BCE. A brutal ruler of the most powerful empire in the world, he was feared by his enemies. In Assyria’s capital Nineveh he also founded an important library and had magnificent palaces built.

The sculpture by Cy Twombly was assembled from found objects. He used white paint and plaster to transform the inconspicuous and worthless materials into works of art.

explained briefly

The term plastic art (French: plastique means the art of design) is the generic term for three-dimensional works of art, e.g. sculpture or object art. The German term Bildhauerkunst represents visually the art of creating corporeal formations from solid materials.

look closely

What does the material used say about a work of art? 
What do you associate with the color white? 

"I found all kinds of materials to work with. […] there were those antique shops where you could buy boxes, all kinds of things, so it stimulated ideas."

Cy Twombly

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look closely

How do the form and material of the sculpture fit Ashurbanipal? 

Ponder this

Cy Twombly often wrote the title on his artworks—so too here. What is the mathematical dream all about? Another clue—Assurbanipal’s interests also included geometry. 

Get creative

How do you think such titles are created and what titles would you create? 

TWOMBLY’S SCULPTURES

Do you know Cy Twombly’s sculptures? They are less known than his paintings. In his sculptural work, he uses the technique of “bricolage”. He puts together found objects to create interesting new pieces.

Delve deeper

Artist Factory

Cy Twombly

was born in Lexington, Virginia, USA, in 1928 and died in Rome in 2011.

Get creative

Creative project Factory

Found objects!

Build a sculpture from found objects.