Modigliani, Amedeo

(1884–1920)
   One of the most distinctive 20th-century artists, Amedeo Modigliani was born into a wealthy Jewish family from Livorno (Leghorn) on the Tuscan coast but spent most of his adult life in Paris, where he began working as a sculptor and was greatly influenced, like many artists of the time, by African art. His life in Paris was the classic tale of the neglected genius: He had only one one-man show in his lifetime, and that was swiftly shut down by the police on the grounds of obscenity. He was interested in the work of Paul Cezanne but otherwise was little influenced by either the principal movements in the art world (fauvism, futurism, and cubism) or the left-wing politics of the Parisian art scene. The last five years of his brief life were the most memorable for his artistic production. In these years, Modigliani painted the portraits and the strikingly erotic (some would say pornographic) nudes that established his artistic reputation. His Portrait of Leopold Zborowski (1916), epitomizes his uniquely stylized form of portraiture. Zborowski, Modigliani’s closest male friend, sits in the center of the canvas, a bulky figure in a brown suit, whose shoulders taper like a wine bottle to a perfectly oval-shaped head. Detail is reduced to a minimum: The eyes are no more than a dab of unexpressive green, the sitter’s hair and beard are merely precisely defined areas of brown paint, the face is absolutely flat, the skin of the face is unwrinkled and almost monochromatic, the brown suit has a virtually indistinguishable lapel but no other adornment, and the background is an unfeatured grey-green cloth or curtain. Yet the picture conveys both an undeniable sense of character—one perceives Zborowski’s poise and intellect—and a powerful sense that the sitter has been accurately represented.
   From about 1912 onward, Modigliani was chronically addicted to alcohol and hashish. Several glasses of whisky were required to set his creative gifts in motion; he made a conscious philosophy out of living a life of excess. He died of tubercular meningitis in 1920. His last companion, Jeanne Heburtane, killed herself the following day.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MODIGLIANI, AMEDEO — (1884–1920), painter. Modigliani was born in Leghorn, the son of a small businessman. One of his brothers, vittorio emanuele modigliani , was an active Socialist leader. Amedeo studied art in Florence and Venice. In 1905 he went to Paris. While… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Modigliani, Amedeo — born July 12, 1884, Livorno, Italy died Jan. 24, 1920, Paris, France Italian painter and sculptor. After studying art in Italy, he settled in Paris (1906), where he exhibited several paintings at the Salon des Indépendants in 1908. Following the… …   Universalium

  • Modigliani, Amedeo — ► (1884 1920) Pintor y escultor italiano. En 1906 se instaló en París, en los barrios de Montparnasse y Montmartre, barrios en los que transcurrió su vida artística. A partir de 1909 se animó a practicar la escultura, arte al que ya se había… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Modigliani, Amedeo — (1884–1920)    Italian French painter. Modigliani came from a merchant family in Leghorn, Italy, and in 1905 settled in France, where he was associated in the School of Paris with three Jewish artists of Eastern European background CHAGALL,… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Modigliani, Amedeo — (7/12/1884 Livorno 1/25/1920 Paris) (Italy / France)    Painter and sculptor. Studied with the painter G. Micheli. Best known for his unique style of rendering female figures, including nudes, in exaggerated proportions.    Reproductions:… …   Dictionary of erotic artists: painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators

  • Modigliani,Amedeo — Mo·di·glia·ni (mō dē lē äʹnē, mō dē lyäʹnē), Amedeo. 1884 1920. Italian painter and sculptor noted for the graceful elongated lines of his portraits and nudes, including Reclining Nude (1917). * * * …   Universalium

  • Modigliani, Amedeo — (1884 1920)    Italian painter and sculpture. Born in Livorno, he studied at a local art school and later in Florence and Venice. In 1906 he went to Paris where he mixed with fellow emigres. In the early 1920s he was stricken with tubercular… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Modigliani, Amedeo —  (1884–1920) Italian artist …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Amedeo Modigliani — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Amedeo Modigliani Amedeo Modigliani Nombre real Amedeo Clemente Modigliani Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Modigliani — Amedeo Modigliani Pour les articles homonymes, voir Modigliani (homonymie). Amedeo Modigliani Nom de naissance Amedeo Clemente Mod …   Wikipédia en Français

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