Curatorial Document

Robert Rauschenberg, contact sheet showing portraits of Cy Twombly, 1952

Part of Rauschenberg Research Project Home

  • Robert Rauschenberg, contact sheet showing portraits of Cy Twombly, 1952

    Robert Rauschenberg, contact sheet showing portraits of Cy Twombly, 1952, printed ca. 1980. Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

  • Installation view of Robert Rauschenberg's Cy + Roman Steps (I–V), SFMOMA, 2010

    Installation view of Robert Rauschenberg’s Cy + Roman Steps (I–V) (1952) in 75 Years of Looking Forward: The Anniversary Show, SFMOMA, December 19, 2009–January 16, 2011

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Cy + Roman Steps (I) with inscription and signature

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Cy + Roman Steps (I) (1952) with inscription and signature visible below the photograph

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Cy + Roman Steps (II) with inscription and signature

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Cy + Roman Steps (II) (1952) with inscription and signature visible below the photograph

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Cy + Roman Steps (III) with inscription and signature

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Cy + Roman Steps (III) (1952) with inscription and signature visible below the photograph

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Cy + Roman Steps (IV) with inscription and signature

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Cy + Roman Steps (IV) (1952) with inscription and signature visible below the photograph

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Cy + Roman Steps (V) with inscription and signature

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Cy + Roman Steps (V) (1952) with inscription and signature visible below the photograph

  • Cy + Roman Steps (I-V)

    Robert Rauschenberg, Cy + Roman Steps (I-V), Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 PST 1952; suite of five gelatin silver prints, 20 in. x 80 in. (50.8 cm x 203.2 cm); Purchase through a gift of Phyllis Wattis; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; photo: Ben Blackwell


This contact sheet includes six photographs that Rauschenberg took of Cy Twombly on the steps of the Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli, along with photos of Twombly and various relics at sites on Rome’s Capitoline Hill. Rauschenberg selected only five of the six photographs from the steps for inclusion in Cy+Roman Steps (I–V); the central image from the top row was dropped. The sculptural fragments seen in the bottom two rows of images are pieces of the Colossus of Constantine that Rauschenberg photographed at the Pallazo dei Conservatori. In one shot, Twombly appears in the same clothes seen in the Cy+Roman Steps (I–V) sequence, suggesting that all of these photos were taken on the same day as the two explored the city.