Modigliani, Amedeo (1884-1920) was an Italian painter and sculptor. During the early 1900s in Paris, he developed a unique style. Today his graceful portraits and nudes at once evoke his name, but during his brief career few apart from his fellow artists were aware of his gifts. Modigliani had to struggle against poverty and chronic ill health, dying of tuberculosis and excesses of drink and drugs at the age of 35.

  In 1906, Modigliani settled in Paris, where he encountered the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Georges Rouault, and Pablo Picasso (in his "blue period") and assimilated their influence. The strong influence of Paul Cezanne's paintings is clearly evident too, both in Modigliani's deliberate distortion of the figure and the free use of large, flat areas of color.

His friendship with Constantin Brancusi kindled Modigliani's interest in sculpture, in which he would continue his very personal idiom, distinguished by strong linear rhythms, simple elongated forms, and verticality.

After 1915, Modigliani devoted himself entirely to painting, producing some of his best work. His interest in African masks and sculpture remains evident, especially in the treatment of the sitters' faces: flat and masklike, with almond eyes, twisted noses, pursed mouths, and elongated necks. Despite their extreme economy of composition and neutral backgrounds, the portraits convey a sharp sense of the sitter's personality.

Amedeo Modigliani destroyed himself through drink and drugs, driven desperate by his poverty and bitterly ashamed of it. His work has a wonderful slow elegance that is unusual, but compelling.


"Portrait of Leopold Zborowski" (circa 1916-19) Oil on canvas, 107 × 66 cm - 42.13 × 25.98 in. São Paulo Museum of Art, São Paulo, Brazil.

"Portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne in the Yellow Sweater" (1918) Oil on canvas, 100 × 65 cm - 39.4 x 25.6 in. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, USA.

"Portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne ([head in profile)" (1918) Oil on canvas, 46 × 29 cm - 18.1 × 11.4 in. Private collection.

"Self-portrait" (1919) Oil on canvas, 100 × 64.5 cm - 39.37 × 25.39 in. Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

" Boy in a Striped Sweater" (1918) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.

"Portrait of Mechan" (1917) Oil on canvas. Private collection.

"Female Nude" (circa 1918) Oil on canvas.

"Tree and House" (1919) Oil on canvas, 55 × 46 cm - 21.7 x 18.1 in. Private collection.

Text source: 'Webmuseum' (

Related Artists:

Related Term: Art Nouveau.


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