His Bacchus are abstract paintings consisting of a tangle of vermilion loops on a light flesh-colored background. In 2004 the first set of six includes inscriptions from Greek attesting that Bacchus is not here the god of drinking and debauchery but is in his other role of personification of furious madness.
These lasso loops rise and fall between the top and bottom of the picture in endless spirals. Painted by the artist with a wide brush at the end of a long stick, they are not comparable with the proto-writing loops on his blackboards 35 years earlier. Thin vertical drippings give an idea of the sticky wetness of blood or wine.
Twombly does not immediately exhibit this first series because its vertical format 2.66 m high is not conducive enough to the burst of feelings and perhaps also because his art must be expressive by itself to get rid of the inscriptions. The opus V was sold for $ 15.4M including premium by Sotheby's on May 11, 2016.
The artist makes the second series in 2005 in eight paintings that are immediately exhibited as a whole set by Gagosian in New York. The largest variant later numbered V, acrylic on canvas 325 x 494 cm, will be sold by Christie's in New York as lot 15 B on November 15.
In 2008 paintings V and VII from the 2005 group are judiciously positioned side by side during a temporary exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. The artist appreciates that he had not given a sufficient breadth to his own creation. He then executes a third series of six paintings. This ultimate series of Bacchus is not the apotheosis of a hostile god but the culmination of the effort of Cy Twombly's entire career for expressing through abstraction the blind rages of the real world.
SOLD for $ 46M including premium