Venus in Aries: Cy Twombly

Friday May 19th 2017

“It’s more like I’m having an experience than making a picture.” — Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly’s work is unmistakable: giant scribbles, smudges, words and phrases crash together across vast stretches of white. They look as if they’ve been made in an instant, a flash, a dash, a moment of possession — a child’s response to the world.

Yet the world to which Twombly responds is adult and intellectual. He chose to live in the glorious encrustation of Rome where he could have direct experience every day of deep Western culture. His knowledge of myth and history was profound. So why did he draw Venus like this?

Venus and Adonis (1978)

Or this?

Venus (1975)

Venus (1975)

Maybe it’s because his astrological chart looks like this. This is a sunrise chart, so the Ascendant should be ignored.


Twombly’s powerful stellium in hot, instant Aries — Uranus, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury — is squared by Pluto and the Moon in emotional, super-sensitive Cancer.

There is an Aries aggression in his work; indeed, his pictures are almost art as breakdown. Pluto drills a hole in Venus, tears her apart. Words scatter across the disfigured paper.

Twombly’s work is beloved by art historians, collectors and curators. He was taken up by the art establishment as a young man and never put down again. Perhaps the esteem in which he was held was partly due to the classical and poetic context in which he situated his work. It gives a critic a jumping off point (very Aries). His lifelong love of poetry and poetic imagery may be connected to the Mercury-Neptune trine. His way into art may have been through words not pictures.


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