Cy Twombly was born 1928 in Lexington, Virginia. He studied art in Boston, New York and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he met other notable artists like John Cage, Robert Motherwell and Robert Rauschenberg.
Cy traveled to North Africa and Europe as a young man and arrived back in New York during the 50’s with new paintings whose compositions mixed elements of abstraction, drawing and writing. He was the first American artist to use graffiti-like marks and scribbled lines on his canvases. This type of graffiti was not associated with urban decay, but borrowed from the French New Realists, lead by the artist Jean Dubuffet. His work was also influenced by Paul Klee as well as the automatic writing of the Surrealists.
Twombly eventually settled in Rome, Italy in the late 1950’s where he is still living at the time of this writing. In Italy his paintings became more elaborate and his paint surfaces more thick and textured. His work began to resemble ancient Roman walls incorporated with references to the antique in color and markings that often refer to Homer and the Iliad. Twombly’s work is infused with references to literature and landscape, especially that of the Mediterranean.