Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian painter and sculptor who worked mainly in France. Primarily a figurative artist, he became known for paintings and sculptures in a modern style, characterized by mask-like faces and elongation of form. He died at age 35 in Paris of tubercular meningitis, exacerbated by poverty, overwork and addiction to alcohol and narcotics.

Modigliani was born into a Jewish family in Livorno, Italy. He was interested in art from a young age and had the chance to do a tour of Italy with his mum that influence him a lot. As a child he was often sick from typhoid fever. He studied in Micheli's Art School with teacher Domenico Morelli who was part of a famous italian movement called Macchiaioli, connected to (and actually pre-dating) the French Impressionists. But Modigliani preferred to paint indoors, and especially in his own studio, displaying his talent in nudes.

After studying in Florence and Venice he moved to Paris in 1906 where he settled in a commune for penniless artists in Montmartre, having a studio in Rue Caulaincourt. He started to sketch nudes at the Académie Calarossi, with a demeanour and reputation as an alcoholic and a drug addict by this time. This behavior is the subject of considerable speculation. May be it was a way to mask his tuberculosis from his acquaintances. Probably Modigliani used drink and drugs as palliatives to ease his physical pain, helping him to maintain a facade of vitality and allowing him to continue to create his art.

Around 1909 he had a short period where ha was based on Montparnasse and was working as a sculptor, being introduced him to sculptor Constantin Brancuși, being is disciple for one year. By 1914 he abandoned sculpting and focused solely on his painting. After years of remission and recurrence, this was the period in when the symptoms of his tuberculosis worsened. During his early years in Paris, Modigliani worked at a furious pace. He was constantly sketching, making as many as a hundred drawings a day. However, many of his works were lost—destroyed by him as inferior, left behind in his frequent changes of address, or given to girlfriends who did not keep them. He was first influenced by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, but around 1907 he became fascinated with the work of Paul Cézanne. Eventually he developed his own unique style, one that cannot be adequately categorized with those of other artists.

Modigliani was a handsome man and woman had a important place in his life. Beatrice Hastings entered his life and stayed with him for almost two years. She was the subject for several of his portraits. The several dozen nudes Modigliani painted between 1916 and 1919 constitute many of his best-known works. This series of nudes was commissioned by Modigliani's dealer and friend Leopold Zborowski, who lent the artist use of his apartment and paid for his expenses. During his lifetime, he sold a number of his works, but never for any great amount of money. In 1917, Modigliani's had his first one-man exhibition but the police forced him to close it within a few hours after its opening because of his nudes.

In the spring of 1917, he met a beautiful 19-year-old art student named Jeanne Hébuterne. They soon moved together. Hébuterne became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter named Jeanne. Although he continued to paint, Modigliani's health was deteriorating rapidly, and his alcohol-induced blackouts became more frequent. When Modigliani died on January 24, 1920, Hébuterne was pregnant with their second child but inconsolable she threw herself out of a fifth-floor window, a day after Modigliani's death, killing herself and her unborn child.

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