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Amedeo Modigliani 1884-1920 BACK


Italian painter, sculptor and draughtsman; born in Leghorn, of Jewish descent. Modigliani studied in Venice and Florence and arrived in Paris in 1906. Without associating himself with any particular group or movement, Modigliani took what he wanted from the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, CÚzanne, African sculpture, the Fauves, Cubism and other experimental work of Picasso and Braque. More decisive was his meeting with Brancusi; and between 1910 and 1913 it was sculpture that absorbed him. Forced to give this up because the dust thrown off by the chisel damaged his lungs, already weakened by disease, Modigliani applied many sculptural effects in his portraits and nudes, particularly the characteristic elongation of the head, the long raised ridge of the nose and the long neck. The legend of his life as a Montparnasse eccentric - handsome, poor, proud, amorous and drugged or drunk - was cultivated by his literary friends, especially after his genuinely tragic death at 35. The legend ignores his intense concentration on his painting in his last years.


An excerpt from Amedeo Modigiani by Werner Schmalenbach
'We demand, for a period of ten years, the total suppression of the nude in painting.' No one more firmly resisted the Futurists' demand than did Amedeo Modigliani; so much so, that for many people the name of Modigliani is almost synonymous with his nudes. And yet these are not particularly numerous; the portraits far outnumber them. There is room for debate, too, as to the accuracy of the view, expressed by some commentators, that the nudes represent Modigliam's major artistic contribution. These works have certainly attracted the lion's share of attention, but this could be for thematic rather than artistic reasons-reasons that have become increasingly irrelevant over the succeeding decades, as society has become more 'permissive'.

The Futurists, for their part, had no moral objections; they disapproved of the female nude because it was the epitome of tradition in painting. Perhaps they never would have condemned it so apodictically if only Modigliani's nudes had already existed around 1910; entirely traditional though these were, they shocked the contemporary public so profoundly on moral grounds that the Futurists might well have considered them entirely in keeping with their own anti-bourgeois plan.

This, again, is a symptom of Modigliani's position between tradition and Modernism. No other painter, in our century , or in any other, has painted the female human body as he did. And yet his nudes evoke involuntary associations of Classicism. They are a continuation of a great tradition of European painting, not only thematically but also in the 'spiritual' interpretation of the theme, insofar as they constitute a celebration of beauty, immaculateness and perfection, and thus an idealization of physical Nature -- which, in these pictures, dispenses with an idealized visual context and may be understood as a contribution to the freeing of sex from moralistic intrusions. The nudes are wholly liberated, even if the artist himself had no thought of making a liberating gesture.



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Image List

Landscape in Tuscany, 1898

Nude, 1908

Head of a Young Woman, 1908

Nude with Hat, 1908

The Jewess, 1908 image viewer

The Cellist, 1909

Caryatid, 1913

The Red Bust, 1913

Caryatid [blue], 1913

Caryatid [red], 1913

Portrait of Diego Rivera, 1914

Portrait of Diego Rivera, 1914

Portrait of Pablo Picasso, 1915

Portrait of Chaim Soutine, 1915

Pierrot, 1915

Beatrice Hastings, 1915

Bride and Groom, 1915

Portrait of Leopold Zborowski, 1916

Portrait of Moise Kisling, 1916 image viewer

Lolotte, 1916

Monsieur Lepoutre, 1916

Monsieur Deleu

Portrait of a Girl [Victoria], 1916

Portrait of Leopold Zborowski, 1916

Portrait of Elena Pavlowski, 1917 image viewer

Woman with Black Tie, 1917 image viewer

Cafe Singer, 1917

Girl with Green Blouse, 1917

Portrait Of Chaim Soutine Seated At A Table, 1917

The Little Peasant, 1918

Man With Pipe (The Notary Of Nice), 1918

Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne(sitting), 1918

Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne, 1918 image viewer

Dark Young Woman Seated in Front of a Bed, 1918

Two Children, 1918

The Boy, 1918

Belle Epiciere, 1918

Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne, 1918

Portrait of Blaise Cendars, 1918

Seated Young Woman, 1918

Girl with White Chemise, 1918

Girl with Braids, 1918

A Blond Woman, 1918

Zouave, 1918

Landscape, 1919

Seated Woman with Child, 1919 image viewer

Portrait 0f Anna Zborowska, 1919 image viewer


For more images of Modigliani visit The Legend Lives On





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