This room brings together Twombly’s two versions of the Quattro Stagioni, or Four Seasons, which were painted when he was approaching his mid-sixties. They loosely follow a tradition in which each season also represents a different stage in life: spring is young and vital, summer sensual, autumn idle, while winter sees death encroaching.
Primavera (spring) embodies a resurgence of energy with luminous splashes of yellow and red curved boat forms. The prevailing tone of Estate (summer) is of pleasure but also the transience of youth, including lines from the Greek poet George Seferis. The theme of harvesting in Autunno (autumn) relates specifically to the wine festival of Bassano, with thick daubs of red and the phrase ‘Your blood’, perhaps an invocation to Bacchus. Inverno (winter) is the most sparse of all Twombly’s seasons, with words disappearing beneath a mist of translucent white paint, and the gathering darkness relieved only by flares of yellow and green.
The versions of the Four Seasons and the Bacchus paintings in the following room are accompanied by sculptures. The Thicket tree sculpture, emerging from an ‘earthen’ base of poured concrete, includes pencil inscriptions on the wooden tags or buds that list place names from ancient Mesopotamia. Untitled (2001) is startlingly set apart from his other sculptures, incorporating coloured tissues that had been used to clean paint. The most recent sculpture in the exhibition, Untitled (In Memory of Alvaro de Campos) is a monument dedicated to one of the fictional personae adopted by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.