Amedeo Modigliani, Reclining Nude, 1917

AmedeoModigliani
Amedeo Modigliani, Reclining Nude, 1917, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
Amedeo Modigliani, born on July 12th, 1884, in Tuscany, Italy! Modigliani’s early work was highly influenced by his friendships with Pablo Picasso and Constantin Brancusi, however, Modigliani found his own artistic voice with now famous portraits of women whose faces are distinctly elongated and almost mask like. Modigliani, born fourth to Eugenie Garsin, daughter of an affluential scholastic family whose business was in credit agencies, and Flaminio, a member of successful Jewish business owners and entrepreneurs, suffered all his life from poor health, and due to this was home schooled by his mother, who taught him mainly art, philosophy and literature. After an apprenticeship with an Italian artist Guglielmo Micheli in 1898, Modigliani relocated to Paris, France in 1906, which at the time was the cultural mecca for avantgarde art. Amedeo settled in an artist commune in the Montmartre area of the city, which allowed for Modigliani to immerse himself completely in his work. Modigliani is an example of a self-destructing artist, whose wild life style, plagued with drug and alcohol abuse and cradled by many love affairs, overshadowed the artist’s creative output. With that being said, Modigliani’s work saw only one solo show during his life time, put on by Berthe Weill in her Paris gallery in 1917. The show displayed close to 30 of the artist’s nudes, and due to the “indecency” of the subject matter of the paintings, the show was quickly shut down by the police, making this event notorious in the world of modern art history. This incident rings in familiarity to the scandal of 1884 over John Singer Sargent’s work Madame X, which, before altering the painting, portrayed Virginie Amelie Avegno Gautreau, a French socialite and wife of French banker Pierre Gautreau in a lavish black dress, with one of its straps hanging loosely off of Gautreau’s shoulder. Causing a huge outcry and stir from visitors and viewers, Sargent altered the painting to depict the strap of Madame X’s dress securely on her shoulder, but not before the damage to the artist’s reputation was already done, which partially caused Sargent to relocate to Britain. In 1918, fearing the approach of the German armies during WWI, Modigliani briefly sought refuge in Nice, with one of this lovers, a young art student named Jeanne Hebuterne. In 1919, Modigliani, Hebuterne, and their young daughter, Jeanne, relocated back to Paris, however, Modigliani’s chronic poor health, aggravated by excessive drug and alcohol abuse, has led the artist to contracting tubercular meningitis, which was the cause of his death in January of 1920, at the age of 35. Pictured here is Amedeo Modigliani, Reclining Nude, 1917, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
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