His Most Famous Painting (The Four Seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter) – CY Twombly

Dorian Whitmore

“The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter (Quattro Stagioni)” is the series created by CY Twombly, an American, calligraphic style Graffiti painter (born 1928) from Lexington, Virginia, in the year 1993-94. Twombly studied art in Boston, New York, and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. As the name suggests, the painting is comprised of four parts, representing “Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons).” Twombly used synthetic polymer paint, oil, house paint, pencil, and crayon to create the four canvases. Of the four, the canvas of “Spring” measures 10′ 3 1/8″ x 6′ 2 7/8″ (312.5 cm x 190 cm), “Summer” 10′ 3 3/4″ x 6′ 7 1/8″ (314.5 cm x 201 cm), “Autumn” 10′ 3 1/2″ x 6′ 2 3/4″ (313.7 x 189.9 cm), and “Winter” is 10′ 3 1/4″ x 6′ 2 7/8″ (313 x 190.1 cm) in size.

In “The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter (Quattro Stagioni),” CY Twombly portrays the changing color of the countryside scenery of four seasons. The four series painting also seems to build a resemblance to the human life cycle. “The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter (Quattro Stagioni)” conveys the philosophy of ‘life goes on.’ It seems to emphasize that every ending thing starts again. That is, rebirth follows death, just like spring (rebirth) follows winter (death).

With different phases, the feel is different. Where winter is cold and deceasing, spring evokes the happy expression of life with new fruits and flowers blooming all over again, as is excellently reflected in the forest of Botticelli’s Primavera (Italian word for Spring). In “The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter (Quattro Stagioni),” CY Twombly too has perfected the feel with the use of his brilliant color scheme that goes on to strike the right connotations, associated with each of the four canvasses. In fact, the classic color palette has added entirety to “The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter (Quattro Stagioni).”

For “Spring,” Twombly used vibrant red curves, with bright yellow splashes on them. The red curves look similar to ancient Egyptian boats, which is a common sight in several of Twombly’s creations. “Estate (summer)” goes warm in yellow, with predominant colors expressing the state of youth and pleasure. The use of white denotes love melting in mad heat. “Autunno (autumn)” relates to the season of harvesting and the famous wine festival of Bassano. A few coats of red and the phrase such as “Your Blood” imply the rise of Bacchus, the mythological god of wine. Finally, “Inverno (winter),” is the most thinly scattered amongst all of Twombly’s 4 seasons canvasses. In this artwork, the words are mysteriously disappearing beneath the transparent white mist. A competent blend of yellow and green create the much-required hued depth, to reflect its deadly cold property.

One of brilliant sparks of CY Twombly, “The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter (Quattro Stagioni)” is currently displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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