Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was born in Livorno on 12 July as the youngest of four children. His father, Flaminio Modigliani, was involved in money dealings and was under the constant threat of financial ruination. Both his parents were members of the Sephardic Jewish community. Under the direction of his mother, Eugenia Garsin Modigliani, he received a liberal and literary education in Italian and French. Modigliani was of delicate health and often contracted chest infections. He exhibited his propensity for drawing and painting at an early age.
Modigliani's mother relented and allowed him to study drawing.
Amedeo entered the art academy in Livorno under Guglielmo Micheli, a pupil of Giovanni Fattori. He was trained in the tradition of the Impressionistic Macchiaioli in landscapes, portraits, still lifes and nude studies.
On the basis of his intensive study of the works of Charles Baudelaire, Lautreamont, Oscar Wilde, Henri Bergson, Gabriele D'Annunzio and others, Modigliani developed a new self-awareness and began to play the role of the 'peintre maudit' before his friends in the Caffe Bardi in Livorno. Inspired by such artists as Gino Romiti and Aristide Sommati, he took an interest in contemporary artistic currents both inside and outside Italy. Modigliani swapped ideas about artistic creativity with his painter colleague Oscar Ghiglia.
Modigliani travelled through southern and central Italy for health reasons.
On May 7 Modigliani matriculated at the Scuola Libera di Nudo in Florence and studied under Giovanni Fattori. In addition to his courses he also studied the Tuscan old masters in the museums and art galleries. He also visited Carrara and Pietrasanta, and on seeing the quarries developed the desire to become a sculptor.
In March Modigliani went to Venice and became a student at the Reale Istituto di Belle Arti di Venezia.
He met such artists as Umberto Boccioni and Ardengo Soffici. At the biennial exhibitions of 1903 and 1905 Modigliani viewed the art of the Symbolists, the French Impressionists and works of the sculptor Rodin and the English painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Impressed by reproductions of the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani decided to leave Venice in order to go to Paris, the centre of avant-garde art.
He arrived in Paris in the winter and settled in Montmartre. His circle of acquaintances included many artists and literary figures such as Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, Andre Derain and Diego Rivera. He was closely associated with Jewish intellectuals and artists like Max Jacob, Chaim Soutine, Moise Kisling, Jacques Lipchitz. Soon after his arrival Modigliani enrolled at the Academie Colarossi. He made an intense study of Dante, Lautreamont's 'Lese Chants de Matador' and literary works of the 'fin de siecle'. Modigliani wrote some poems, four of which are extant.
Modigliani got to know Dr Paul Alexandre, his doctor, promoter and patron. He became a member of the Society des Artistes Independants and exhibited drawings at the studio of his sculptor friend Amedeo de Souza Cardoso. He was also represented at that year's Salon d'Automne with a painting, Portrait of L. M., and five drawings, head studies and portraits. Modigliani was particularly impressed by the works of Paul Cezanne, who died in 1906 and to whom the Salon d'Automne devoted a retrospective. Already at this stage his main preoccupations were portraits and nudes. His work showed the influence of Cezanne, Toulouse Lautrec and Paul Gauguin and hinted at his interest in Picasso's Blue Period and Symbolist works.
Six of Modigliani's works were on show in the Salon des Independents: the paintings The Jewess and The Idol, two female nudes, a sketch and a drawing.
In the summer Modigliani went to Livorno. After his return to Paris he moved to Montparnasse and worked in the artists' quarter of the Cite Falguiere. Here too, as he had done in Montmartre, Modigliani frequently changed his address. He made the acquaintance of the sculptor Constantin Brancusi, possibly via Paul Alexandre. Up until about the beginning of the First World War Modigliani worked predominantly as a sculptor and collaborated closely with Brancusi. His sculptures, which he carved directly in stone, were influenced by the primitive art of Africa and south-east Asia and by the art of the Italian Trecento.
Modigliani was represented at the Salon des Independants with six paintings (The Cellist, Moon Shine, Beggarman, Beggarwoman, two studies).