In 1975 Twombly began to restore a fifteenth century house in the medieval town of Bassano, north of Rome. Here he spent his summers and in 1976 returned, after a break of seventeen years, to the making of sculpture. Untitled (Rome) is one of the first sculptures Twombly made at this time. A two-tiered vertical column, it is one of a number of works on the same theme that evidently obsessed the artist during this period. The extreme simplicity of this sculpture's forms and Twombly's utilitarian incorporation of objects close to hand reflects to some extent the continuing influence of Minimalism on the artist. This was an aesthetic that had begun to be reflected in the artist's work in the late 1960s but had seemingly been absorbed and disappeared from his painting by the mid-1970s.
Untitled (Rome) is made from ready-made cardboard tubes of the kind used for rolling up drawings, which Twombly would have had to hand in his studio. These tubes have subsequently been coated with a painted synthetic resin and a white paint that has been allowed to drip and splatter. As with Twombly's paintings this monochrome white lends the material an anonymity and an archaic dignity. Transformed into a noble column that the artist has deliberately left open and hollow by removing the top of the tube, the resultant white sculpture makes a simple play between open and enclosed form. At the same time, it conjures a certain anthropomorphism through its elegant verticality. Seemingly totemic, and displaying the elegant elongation of ancient Cycladic figures this simple form transforms its own deceptive simplicity into something refined, evocative, mysterious and also seemingly beyond time.
Column of Phrygian marble in the precinct of the Temple of Apollo