"But at that time I did not understand at all how to make the lines and shapes and colours, simply by the pattern they made together, produce a direct emotional effect, one that was apart from what objects of the external world were actually depicted in the drawing. In fact, I did not then understand in what sense painting was a sensory organic language rather than an idea language."
(Milner, Marion, On Not Being Able To Paint, Routledge, Hove 2010, p.111)
I saw my first Cy Twombly (who died in 2011) in Frankfurt on a school trip and was bemused by what to my teenage eyes looked like an accident with a pencil. While there undoubtedly still is and always will be a lot of modern art I either do not (want to) "get" or that I find pretentious or too conceptual, there are also countless examples of artists I wouldn't have liked ten or fifteen years ago that are now among my favourites. I have grown to love Twombly's lyrical and beautiful work, the painterly feel of it and the childlike scribbles. (I also think children are amazing artists and that it is the mark of a great artist to retain the immediacy and expression of children's art.)
So I want to take back all the dismissive comments I may have made about Twombly's art in my younger years.
If I could I would go to the UK this autumn for this exhibition, which juxtaposes him with Turner and Monet:
And I would go to see this Munch exhibition as well: