The Battle of Lepanto at Museum Brandhorst

Credit: Annette Kisling
Cy Twombly The Battle of Lepanto, Credit: Annette Kisling, Museum Branhorst

My first art tutor was nuts for Cy Twombly, but I was so terrified of painting at that point, and wrestling with all of it really, that I really stuggled to warm to the huge scale and raw energy of Twombly’s works.

In Germany last summer though I had a day in Munich to myself, and headed to see the newly opened Branhorst Museum. There I eventually spent an hour with the Lepanto works. Quietly overcome.

This from Ellis Woodman on

The rooms on the upper level also vary dramatically in scale but are lit consistently by way of an Okalux light. At present, the whole floor is given over to works by Cy Twombly, some from the Brandhorst collection and a number loaned by the artist but made in response to the spaces of the new building.

Among those from the museum’s own holdings is a series of 12 gigantic canvasses, which depict the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. The Lepanto Cycle is one of the principal monuments of Twombly’s late career and — uniquely among the works in the collection — has been put on permanent display in a gallery that has been tailored to its specific needs.

This room occupies the upper level of the “head” but its plan has been developed independently of the external form. The given geometry of the room has been dummied out by a series of faceting planes, with the effect that as visitors enter through a centrally located door they discover the entire series laid out panoramically in front of them. It really is a tremendous coup de théâtre.

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