Art Professor Makes History at the Louvre

Barbara Crawford, a professor of art at Southern Virginia University, is making history as an assistant to the famous American painter Cy Twombly, who was given a rare opportunity to create a painting that will cover a ceiling in the Louvre—a singular honor and a first for an American.

Twombly offhandedly asked Crawford to assist him on the project, but her role evolved into much more. Twombly, who is 80 years old, designed a small version of the painting and worked with Crawford to mix colors to his precise specifications. Over the past few months, Crawford has been traveling to Paris to supervise the project, mix colors and even do some of the painting.

A recent piece in The American Scholar, describes Crawford as Twombly’s “eyes, ears and hands for the actual painting of the canvas. . . . This is how serendipity works: a local Virginia university professor-artist casually agrees to assist a world-renowned painter and ends up being the boots—or rather socks—on the ground, overseeing and actually doing many of the brushstrokes of what will be a new ceiling in the world’s most famous repository of art.”

Read the full American Scholar article here.