Modigliani and His Models
8 July — 15 October 2006
In The Sackler Wing of Galleries, Burlington House
Modigliani Poster Poster for the exhibition Modigliani and His Models at the Royal Academy of Arts, London Poster for the exhibition Modigliani and His Models at the Royal Academy of Arts, LondonThis was the first major exhibition of the sculptor and painter Amedeo Modigliani (1884—1920) to be held in Great Britain for over forty years. The show included examples of his nudes and portraits together with a small selection of his sculptures and paintings of caryatids.
Amedeo Modigliani painted people. In many ways this concise statement sums up the artist’s entire output during his short career in Paris in the first two decades of the twentieth century. No other modern artist concentrated so absolutely on the representation of people. Moreover, in a period when avant-garde art was experimenting with the breakdown of forms, Modigliani steadfastly retained their integrity. Always individual and idiosyncratic, he drew on a variety of sources – Renaissance to Rococo painting, the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne and Brancusi, ancient Greek, African and Asian sculpture – to create his own highly original and modern signature style.
Modigliani’s life story, as told by his contemporaries and biographers since his premature death at the age of 35 in 1920, has tended to overshadow his achievement as an artist. Born into a cultivated Sephardic Jewish family from Livorno in Tuscany, Modigliani studied in his native town and in Florence and Venice, before moving to Paris in 1906. The riveting story of the handsome and dissolute young bohemian’s life in the French capital, brought to an end by a combination of ill health, alcohol consumption and drug abuse, has acquired legendary status. His restlessness was not, however, reflected in his art, which, if sometimes poignant, has none of the nervous expressionistic energy of that of many of his contemporaries. Apart from a handful of landscapes painted in the south of France in 1918, Modigliani’s paintings are restricted to portraits and nudes, most of which were painted in the last six years of his career, between 1913 and 1919.
Modigliani and His Models Sudent Guide (819 KB)