Modern Art - Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani

Modigliani's training as a young artist was often interrupted by illness, but he managed to leave his birthplace in Leghorn, Italy to arrive in Paris in 1906. Modigliani is not really considered an artist of the twentieth century, although he had a tremendous influence on those who came after him. He utilized Post-Impressionist delimitation of picture space and Cubist restriction of color.

Modigliani was greatly influenced by Brancusi and in 1909 began to experiment with sculpture. From this time, even his paintings became expressive as contour drawings detached from their backgrounds. Modigliani's painting was also influenced by the Greek kouroi and the African masks which emphasized elongated features.

Modigliani became known for his portraits which were characterized both by his own elegantly elongated features and by a sensitive perception that accurately recorded personalities, eccentricities and foibles. Modigliani's nudes are among the most beautiful of any in the twentieth century. He sets the figure witin a narrow depth of colored space. The figure is outlined with a flowing but precise line and he modeled the sensuous torso with subltle gradations of flesh tones. Although Modigliani often elongated the torso of his nudes, there is no sense of grotesque distortion. His nudes radiate an idyllic composure and serene sensuality.

After only fourteen years of work in Paris, Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis in 1920. Two days later, his mistress, Jeanne Hébuterne, who was nearly nine months pregnant with their second child, threw herself out of a fifth story window, killing both herself and their unborn child.