Cy Twombly at the National Portrait Gallery, London

Emerging as a prominent figure in the mid-1950s following extensive travels throughout Europe and North Africa, Twombly created an abstract language inspired by personal life and mythology, allowing classical literature, language, and landscape to erupt on canvas.

The recently-opened presentation, running at the National Portrait Gallery in London until 19 January 2020, focuses on portraiture across painting, drawing and photography. At the centre of this display are two paintings of the artist’s friends: the set designer Henry Heymann made in 1956 and an abstract work of 1967 representing the philanthropist Paul Getty Jr.  Also featured are rarely-seen photographs by Twombly of friends, family and self-portraits, including striking portraits of Robert Rauschenberg and Nicola Del Roscio. His classical influences become clearer with a series of remarkable drawings of Greek busts.

Image: Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1959 © Cy Twombly Foundation. Photo: Peter Schälchli, Zurich