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Artists Amedeo Modigliani
Amedeo Modigliani Photo

Amedeo Modigliani

Italian Painter and Sculptor

Movement: Expressionism

Born: July 12, 1884 - Livorno, Italy

Died: January 24, 1920 - Paris, France

Amedeo Modigliani Timeline

Quotes

"When I know your soul, I will paint your eyes."
Amedeo Modigliani
"What I am searching for is neither the real nor the unreal, but the subconscious, the mystery of what is instinctive in the human race."
Amedeo Modigliani
"With one eye you are looking at the outside world, while with the other you are looking within yourself."
Amedeo Modigliani
"The function of art is to struggle against obligation."
Amedeo Modigliani
"Always speak out and keep forging ahead. The man who cannot find new ambitions and even a new person within himself, who is always destined to wrestle with what has remained rotten and decadent in his own personality, is not a man."
Amedeo Modigliani

"Every great work of art should be considered like any work of nature. First of all from the point of view of its aesthetic reality and then not just from its development and the mastery of its creation but from the standpoint of what has moved and agitated its creator."

Amedeo Modigliani Signature

Synopsis

A central participant in the Ecole de Paris, Modigliani modernized two of the enduring themes of art history: the portrait and the nude. Characterized by a sense of melancholy, elongated proportions, and mask-like faces influenced by such sources as Constantin Brancusi and African art, Modigliani's portraits are both specific and highly stylized, each uniquely revealing its sitter's inner life, while at the same time unmistakably "Modiglianized," to use the words of one critic. Modigliani's nudes scandalized audiences with their depiction of features such as pubic hair and their frank, unadorned sexuality. The subject of three biographical movies, Modigliani's legacy is inextricably bound up with his tragic and bohemian life: his fragile health, which plagued him since childhood; his perpetual pennilessness; and - most famously - his over-the-top, self-destructive lifestyle, which included sexual debauchery and overuse of drugs and alcohol.

Key Ideas

Modigliani upended the tradition of the nude. Modern in their candid sensuality, his works in this genre are noticeably devoid of the modesty and mythological subtext present in many earlier depictions of nude figures. Because of these qualities - along with the artist's notorious womanizing - Modigliani's nudes were scandalously received at the time they were created.
Modigliani's portraiture achieves a unique combination of specificity and generalization. His portraits convey his subjects' personalities, while his trademark stylization and use of recurring motifs - long necks and almond-shaped eyes - lends them uniformity. Modigliani's portraiture also serves as a vital art historic record, comprising a gallery of major figures of the Ecole de Paris circle, to which he belonged following his move to Paris in 1906.
The work of the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi was perhaps the single most important influence on Modigliani's creative development. Although Modigliani is best known as a painter, he focused on sculpture early on in his career, and, some writers have argued, may have regarded his true calling as that of sculptor. The sculptures Modigliani created in 1909-14, of which twenty-five carvings and one woodcut survive, were highly influential on his work as a painter, helping him arrive at the abstracted and linear vocabulary of his painting.

Biography

Amedeo Modigliani Photo

Childhood

Amedeo, or "Dedo," Modigliani was the youngest of four children born to Jewish parents, Flaminio and Eugenia, in Livorno, Italy, home to a large Jewish community. Shortly before his birth, the family businesses had fallen onto hard times, forcing the Modiglianis to declare bankruptcy. Amedeo's timely arrival may have resulted in the rescue of many valuable heirlooms; according to family legend, soldiers were forced to avoid Eugenia in childbirth as they came to repossess the furniture, in accordance with an old Italian custom that forbade the seizure of any possessions in the bed of a woman in labor.

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Amedeo Modigliani Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Amedeo Modigliani
Interactive chart with Amedeo Modigliani's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Henri de Toulouse-LautrecHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso

Personal Contacts

Paul AlexandrePaul Alexandre
Constantin Brâncu?iConstantin Brâncu?i
Max JacobMax Jacob

Movements

CubismCubism
FauvismFauvism
Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism

Influences on Artist
Amedeo Modigliani
Amedeo Modigliani
Years Worked: 1901 - 1920
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Frida KahloFrida Kahlo
Henry MooreHenry Moore

Personal Contacts

Diego RiveraDiego Rivera
Chaim SoutineChaim Soutine

Movements

ExpressionismExpressionism
Modernism and Modern ArtModernism and Modern Art

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Content compiled and written by Tracee Ng

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Tracee Ng
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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