Coronation of Sesostris


Acrylic, wax crayon and pencil on canvas, 10 parts

Variable dimensions

Composed of ten, over two-meter high panels, Coronation of Sesostris is an invitation to travel but also to meditation. Inspired by Sesostris, a legendary king of Ancient Egypt, it is part of Cy Twombly's great narrative series and “one of [his] favorite ensembles.”

The series strikes with its reddish suns and burning ships that echo the theme of the pharaoh's race aboard his sun chariot. These recurring motifs are punctuated by quotes from Sappho and Alcman as well as from a poem by Patricia Waters on the vanishing of ancient gods. The cycle concludes with a black and white painting and an excerpt from a poem by Sappho evoking Eros: “Weaver of Myth/ Eros, sweet and bitter/ Eros, bringer of pain.”

Held in the Pinault Collection, Cy Twombly's masterpiece Coronation of Sesostris was shown for the first time in 2006 at the Where Are We Going? exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, in Venice. It was also shown at the Cy Twombly retrospective exhibition at Centre Pompidou, in 2016.