Amadeo Modigliani (Amedeo Clemente Modigliani; born July 12, 1884 died January 24, 1920) one of the most famous Italian expressionists of the late XIX first quarter of the XX century, an adherent of the “Paris School of Art”. The artist and sculptor Amadeo Modigliani built his art around man. His works are distinguished by deep emotionality, not simulated, but very real, passionate.
Amadeo Modigliani is best known as a portrait painter. His canvases are filled with discreet grace, they make even the most impulsive viewer plunge into contemplation. In his paintings, tired, yearning women with wrinkled eyebrows dream of the gardens of Eden. And boys and men often look as if they have gone into themselves and from there, from the depths, look at what is happening. The master’s work is sensual, but without vulgarity, stylish, but without a hint of snobbery, charming, but not flashy. And that is why it is so human and so attractive.
Biography of Amadeo Modigliani
Amadeo Modigliani was born in the Italian port of Livorno. He was born on July 12, 1884, and became the fourth offspring of a couple of Orthodox Jews. It is worth telling more about the family of a talented expressionist. Papa Amadeo and his paternal relatives brought practically nothing to the cultural upbringing of the boy. They were not very successful merchants, narrow-minded, smug and rather primitive.
It was quite different with the mother’s family. It was a completely different culture and a much higher level, as they would say now, of spirituality. Garsens were known as energetic and intelligent people, active and reading a lot. Grandfather Amadeo knew several languages and talked for a long time with the young talent about a variety of things. The boy’s aunt edited philosophical treatises and gladly shared with her nephew the books of Bergson, Nietzsche and Kropotkin. Eugenia, Amadeo’s mother, was engaged in translations and writing, gave private lessons, thus supporting the well-being of the family a lot.
Thanks to the influence of the mother and her family, all four of Modigliani’s children grew up to be smart and self-sufficient people, intellectuals. The elder brother Emmanuele made a political career, his sister became a teacher, the middle child, Umberto, studied to be an engineer. The younger one, having absorbed the true spirit of the Garsen family, became an artist and throughout his life carried a love of poetry and philosophy, a subtle understanding of human nature and sympathy for people.
Dedo that was the name of the boy in the family found out about his artistic gift rather late.
According to family legend, the mother realized that her son wanted to paint when she listened to the delirium of fourteen-year-old Amadeo, who was struck down by typhoid fever. This moment became the starting point for the young man, from which the passion of his whole life began. On July 17, 1898, an entry appears in Evgenia’s diary in which she shares her concern about her son’s hobby.
She writes that Dedo did not do well in his exams because he does not devote enough time to his lessons, and she is afraid that his son will completely abandon his studies in order to realize his ephemeral dream of becoming an artist. And so it happened. Modigliani left school and completely immersed himself in painting.
On August 1 of the same year, Amadeo begins to visit the studio and take lessons from a local painter, who once studied with Giovanni Fattori (Giovanni Fattori). Interestingly, in the future, already in 1902, at the Florentine Free School, the young Amadeo Modigliani himself studied with the impressionist Fattori to draw nudes. This period in the life of the master is also significant in that he discovers the geniuses of the Italian Renaissance.
Paintings from nature
Since 1903, Modigliani continued his studies in Venice, where he not only attended the Free School. But also studied nature, sitting in cafes, visiting brothels and quickly sketching casual acquaintances. His skill is growing. Moreover, unrestricted inner freedom and a thirst for experimentation make the artist become addicted to hashish and the occult, which are fashionable among bohemians. In addition, at the Venice Biennale, he gets acquainted with the work of European modernists and symbolists. On Amadeo Modigliani, conquered by the demons of Baudelaire, it makes an indelible impression.
In 1906, the master, like many artists, moved to the French capital. He is short of money, but continues to study he enters the Calarossi Academy and rents a small studio on Caulaincourt Street (Montmartre). But, unlike Picasso (Pablo Picasso) and Chagall (Marc Chagall), he has neither useful contacts nor patrons. He lives on the money that his mother sends, and gradually turns into a loser in a shabby jacket, of which there are plenty in Montmartre. It got to the point that he had nothing to buy paints to continue painting.
last years of life
However, poverty did not turn Amadeo away from painting. He suffers, fails, and writes. Tears at work, rushes about in doubts and writes again, trying to find his own voice, style. In 1907, the master even tries to exhibit at the autumn Salon, which was filled with fauvists. Behind the bright colors and expression of their works, no one was able to discern the modest charm of the works of Amadeo Modigliani.
Is it any wonder that after months of such a life, the master began to look for oblivion at the bottom of the glass and in the clouds of the sweet smoke of hashish? However, in 1907, Amadeo also acquires his most devoted admirer and patron. It becomes Dr. Paul Alexander, a romantic, in love with the new art.
Until the end of his life, the artist lived in Paris, only occasionally and briefly leaving it. He existed as a vagabond, without his own house and even a corner, he wandered, was sick in body and mourned homelessly in soul, drank absinthe and again made sketches.
The last couple of years for him turned into a continuous agony, which was watched with horror by his few relatives and numerous “friends”. Alas, none of these acquaintances critics, fellow painters, poets did not support the artist, did not buy canvases, did not give recommendations, did nothing to support the life of a talented master. Amadeo Modigliani died at the beginning of 1920, on the cold night of January 24th. The cause of death of the genius was tuberculosis.