At the Louvre, Cy Twombly Dances on the Ceiling

CY-louvre.bmpOh what a feeling, indeed. Cy Twombly has brought his transcendent abstraction and riffs on antiquity to the Louvre, where he is among a select trio of contemporary artists invited to create a permanent work for the museum (the first artists to do so since Georges Braque in the 1950s). Anselm Kiefer kicked off the initiative in 2007 with his multimedia installation in a history-soaked Napoleonic stairwell, and earlier this year, the museum unveiled François Morellet‘s reimagined Lefuel Staircase. Twombly was assigned the ceiling—specifically, the vast white expanse above the Salle des Bronzes.

The artist traded his signature scribbles and gravity-powered drips for bubblicious orbs floating in a sea of blue. Created in a nearby warehouse and affixed to the ceiling in pieces, the 4,300-square-foot work is punctuated by white rectangles inscribed with the names of leading Greek sculptors: here a Praxiteles, there a Lysippus (the one pictured is the comparatively conventional Myron). According to Louvre curator Marie-Laure Bernadac, Twombly set out “to create a work perfectly in harmony with the architecture and purpose of the space,” a huge rectangular gallery that houses the museum’s Classical bronzes. “Thus the round shapes can be interpreted as shields, planets, or coins, while the blue background evokes either the sky or the sea.” The work also makes us terribly curious as to Twombly’s choice of screensaver.