Last week, the Musée du Louvre introduced its newest acquisition, a 3,750-square-foot ceiling painting created by Cy Twombly to hang in the Salle de Bronzes.

To get to it, you work your way through the crowds to the Sully wing, climb two flights of royal stairs and hang your first right, where you will find a room that doesn’t look like anything else in the museum: the ceiling is a monumental wash of a blue the color of the Aegean, so vivid it seems as if it’s lit by the Mediterranean sun. You can almost hear the sea.

A warning for purists: It doesn’t look much like a Twombly. There are no inscribed loops, no scribbles. Instead of drawing your attention to the center, overlapping circles push your eye out to the border. There are words, but the letters don’t lean into one other so that you can actually read them — that is, if you have a basic understanding of Greek. Twombly lists the greatest Hellenic sculptors, from Phidias to Praxiteles, and maybe out of a sense of dignity for his fellow artists, the names are written with strong and straight brush strokes.


Oliver Strand
Times Magazine