"When I know your soul, I will paint your eyes”: The creative process of Amedeo Modigliani
Modigliani is a drama biographical film written and directed by Mick Davis and starring Neither Modigliani nor his rival Picasso have ever entered the competition, believing that it is beneath true artists like themselves. But push comes. Sep 28, However one must remember that Modigliani for all his faults and he had intimate and serious relationships with three named women and it is those ladies, . He had no respect for anyone except Picasso and Max Jacob. Jun 10, The last Modigliani retrospective held in New York was in at the Though he was friends with Picasso, Modigliani never followed him.
She contributed a regular column untilentitled Impressions de Paris, which went down well with the English public who wanted to know about the bohemian lifestyle of the Parisian literati and the bohemian lifestyle of the Montmartre artists.
In her memoirs, Beatrix recalled those first meetings with Modigliani. A swine and a pearl. I sat opposite him. Not at all impressed. He looked ugly, ferocious, greedy. He was shaved and charming. He always had a book in his pocket.
“When I know your soul, I will paint your eyes”: The creative process of Amedeo Modigliani
The first painting was of Kisling. He had no respect for anyone except Picasso and Max Jacob. He was down on his luck, almost penniless despite his mother still sending a monthly allowance but which was frittered away on alcohol and drugs. The sale of his paintings had almost dried up and what he did sell went for a few francs. His former patron Paul Alexandre, an avid buyer of his work, had gone to fight at the Front and at this time, he had nobody to promote or sell his art.
Portrait of Beatrice Hastings before a door bny Modigliani Beatrice and Modigliani had a stormy love affair, which was to last until Jeanne was born in Paris in April and was fourteen years younger than Modigliani.
She was nineteen and he was thirty-three. She was a very beautiful young woman with the most amazing almond-shaped eyes. She was slim, pale-skinned and had long light-brown braids.
Jeanne soon fell under his magical charm and before long, the pair became lovers. Her parents, who were staunch Catholics, were horrified with this turn of events — their daughter had taken up with a penniless artist, shared his bed and to make things worse he was Jewish. Besides her beauty which he admired, she seemed to be his soul mate.
Was Modigliani a great artist? | Art and design | The Guardian
She asked for very little in return from Amedeo and she put up with his excessive drinking. Indespite the terror of the First World War, Jeanne became pregnant. The art dealer had initiated a deal with Modigliani, that in return for his paintings, he would provide him with comfortable lodgings and studio space. In August of that year Modigliani was supposed to have gone to London to be present at an exhibition of some of his work but by then he was much too ill to travel.
Although he continued to paint, it was becoming increasingly more difficult as he would frequently have to stop to lie down and rest. Eventually by the end of he was bed-ridden. Two days later he died. The medical report stated that he choked on his own blood. The official cause of death was tubercular meningitis. Reputedly his last words harked back to his love for the country where he was born. His dying words being: Her parents had her buried in a grave in the Paris suburb of Bagneux with little ceremony, mortified and embarrassed at the life she had led with Modigliani and the way in which she had decided to end her own life.
The dealers retained four-fifths! Having read so much about Modigliani I have tried hard not to be too judgemental. It would be easy to say that he brought about his own downfall with his extensive use of drugs and bouts of heavy drinking but I think we need to look more carefully at his physical state before we pass judgement.
Due to the nature of his home education, he did not have the support of a circle of friends, which invariably led to his outsider status as an adult. In both his personal life and in his art, Modigliani was a non-conformist and a loner.
Modigliani had a natural affinity for the art of many different cultures: His life, however, has been mythologised, aspects of which were the stuff of fiction. It has been extremely difficult to establish historical accuracy. The myths surrounding Modigliani's life and art began in the decade after his death, emphasising the 'fact' that the good-looking Modigliani was apt to recite Dante's Divine Comedy; his aristocratic demeanour and penchant for poetry linked him to his artistic forbears, Leonardo and Michelangelo.
Early literature on Modigliani emphasised his Italian identity and aesthetic. Modigliani had, in fact, been introduced to Dante when he was convalescing from illness, by his aunt Lauraand it became a favourite, which he used to inscribe a number of his paintings.
In fact, he was Italian, French and Jewish. The last two years of the 19th century were spent at the studio of painter Guglielmo Micheli, the former leader of the Italian Impressionist movement. Then, inModigliani suffered a tubercular haemorrhage after one of a series of lung diseases, and nearly died. Against medical advice, his mother took him to Naples and Capri to convalesce, the family having restored their financial position by this point.
In Naples, Modigliani had the chance to see and study ancient and Classical art. Between andModigliani worked almost exclusively in sculpture. This early experience with sculpture explains the subsequent work he did in painting. It also supports the notion of Modigliani as an artist who chose a most unique and, at times, solitary path. If one looks at examples of Cycladic marble figures, one sees the reaction of Modigliani, the triangular nose, perpendicular arms, globe breasts and long oval heads.
These are so much the precursors of Modigliani's later signature style. InModigliani enrolled in the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, and there he experienced the wonders of Italian Renaissance art, visiting the Uffizi and Pitti palaces on a regular basis.
He continued his Classical training in art by visiting Carrara, where he worked in limestone, and Venice, where he attended the Scuola Libera di Nudo. He moved to Paris ina thriving and cosmopolitan centre of art. Although it is painted in oil on canvas, it conveys a strong impression of sculpted stone. Modigliani's figure is paradoxical, in that she holds her arms upwards as if supporting a weight, but there is nothing there.
Modigliani is using the strong sculptural form in its separated parts. A purely formal exercise then, each part of the figure is separated from each other.
Breaking the Myths
The pose has no purpose other than that of art. The caryatids reveal Modigliani's most abstracted and formalist intentions. Given to the Victoria and Albert Museum, it became the first work by the artist to enter a British collection it was subsequently transferred to Tate Liverpool. Inthe Manchester City Art Gallery obtained a Modigliani drawing, followed by numerous other acquisitions.
No works by Picasso, it should be noted, were acquired by a British institution until The beautiful and the damned coexisted in Modigliani's life of debauchery, alcohol and drug-induced ecstasy. Modigliani's fall from grace has been well documented.
One cannot help but imagine what a long and productive career he would have produced, given his precocious and brilliant early work. Maurice Berger recently wrote of the significance of his life: Modigliani has come to exemplify a decidedly unengaged and isolated Modernist character type: He died at the very young age of 35 of consumption, after alcohol and drug abuse weakened his constitution.
In terms of his art, historians have attributed more significance to his promiscuous sex life than alcohol, for he did not paint under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The effect of his notorious promiscuity, however, has been examined by art historians, for Modigliani's nudes extended the bounds of erotic art. A exhibition at Berthe Weill's gallery in Paris was closed by police, until paintings were taken off the walls. Visitors to the opening night were effectively held hostage until the exhibition was dissembled.
The outrage was precipitated by the precise depiction of pubic hair. The nudes were explicitly sexual. Modigliani believed that, 'when a woman poses for a painter, she gives herself to him'. Modigliani's nudes were uncompromising, drapes were discarded and the torso lifted and turned so as to be literally 'in your face'.
The non-Western primitive used by Gauguin, Picasso and Matisse, was also a feature of Modigliani's eroticism, a sexuality free of Christian Puritanism and guilt. Ultimately, his stylisations, the formalist curves, bends, protrusions and cavities, are the means to an end of an intense tactile sensation, a more naturalistic sensuous experience. Precisely because his gentle Modernism too elegant for some is much less 'advanced' than the radical deformations of his Parisian peers, it relinquishes the expressions of misogyny.
Likewise, his evocation of lifelike flesh poignantly reminds one of the carnality of any body, female or male, and eliminates the distance between self and other.
His nudes reveal a certain comfort on the part of artist and model that does not exist in works by Picasso or Gauguin of the same period. They are neither goddesses nor whores; there is a degree of informality in the artist's relationship, even though he is on an artistic level preoccupied with form.
The traditional passivity of the model has given way to a more naturalistic relationship between the artist and model: The faces of Modigliani's nudes are not portraits, but neither are they standardised. The mask works both ways: Modigliani's reliance on a mask like visage exempts him from a descriptive realism, as the face becomes congruent with the overall seductive schema of the tactile body.
Even then, individuals emerge, and we can thus ascertain that some of the women posed for the artist more than once, and that some were quite plain, their homely features breaking through the stylised mould.
The nude was no longer an accepted art form by the beginning of the First World War. Cubism removed carnality from the nude, geared as it was to dynamism and simultaneity.
The Italian Futurists, in their manifesto inbanned the nude.
As Emily Braun states forcefully in her essay, 'Carnal Knowledge': Finally, we should ask, just who is gazing at these pictures from to ?