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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Amedeo Modigliani was a unique Italian portrait painter who combined several contemporary art styles into his work as well as impressing in sculpture and drawing too.

This creative individual was a highly talented artist whose style was characterised by unusual depictions of the face, with elements stretched unnaturally in most of his later pieces. Modigliani paintings have now become highly respected and his method is seen as an interesting mixture of modern art meeting the idea of traditional portraits. Amedeo Modigliani can be considered one of the more important Italian painters to have emerged since the Renaissance, when his country was simply so influential and at the forefront of all that was happening in European art at that time. The artist eventually went to France in order to pursue his dream of making a success of his career as it was Paris at the time which had the most forward thinking artistic population.

The artist's paintings are listed throughout the site in a short but carefully chosen gallery which aims to outline the strengths of this artist and also to cover the breadth of his career. You will quickly spot that this artist held a relatively consistent approach throughout and was also committed to portrait painting with a similar passion to how the likes of Constable had devoted themselves to landscape painting as the genre which most inspired and motivated them. Many artists get the years have struggled with normal life and it seems that inherent natural creativity often comes hand-in-hand with social problems and unfortunately Modigliani is one such example of that. Drugs and alcohol blighted the life of this individual and acted as a pressure on his career which ultimately failed to produce enough money to life the painter from poverty.

These issues contributed heavily to his death at an early age. It is pleasing to note that despite his short life the artist was able to produce a large amount of work which we can all continue to enjoy, with his career having received belated acceptance after his death. The original style and devotion to portraiture alone makes Modigliani paintings instantly recognisable, with reproductions of his work becoming highly prized assets even in today's flooded art market. It is generally accepted that Toulouse-Lautrec and fellow French painter Paul Cezanne were the biggest influences on Amedeo when he first arrived in Paris and there are clear symbols of both painters with in the style that he eventually developed.

That is not to say that artists who he met personally whilst living in Paris did not also influence his artistic path, though. There has been considerable discussion over how this personality might have developed differently if he had not had the addictions and illnesses which he did. Some romantically feel that they powered his art, whilst others see his problems as stunting what would other wise have been an even more significant career which ultimately came from his raw natural talents.

Amedeo's Life was Turbulent and Unstable

Amedeo Modigliani paintings came around in the early 20th century as the artist entered his twenties and it is believed that Amedeo was actually much more productive than initially believed, but he would regularly destroy or re-use canvases for paintings that he was unhappy with. This behaviour is entirely typical of a creative artist whose passion can lead to instability, particularly when combined with drugs and alcohol as well as the pressures of being a young artist. The artist had an interesting background of Jewish refugees who had moved to Italy, with his mother actually from France. This link then offered the painter an option to pursue his career, although he headed for Paris rather than the Marseille where his mother's roots had been.

Amedeo sadly experienced illness throughout much of his early life and this influenced much of his behaviour later in life, perhaps contributing to his use of alcohol and drugs. An ill Modigliani was to use alcohol and drugs to take the pain away from his existing illnesses which gradually became worse. His increased use of narcotics to counter this then started to get completely out of hand, as did his behaviour in social circles where he really began to become somewhat of an odd-ball. In the same way as Van Gogh had done earlier, and many other artists have done since, his activities became more and more bizarre and his addictive actions were not reversable without solving the root problems.

The artist is also known to have been involved in several affairs as well and it is classic behaviour for a lost creative soul who is searching for something but not quite sure what. The likes of Caravaggio and Van Gogh, plus many more in between have experienced such periods in their lives but unfortunately many never get out of this and fail to combat the destructive impact that excessive use of drugs and alcohol can bring.

Reclining Nude

Reclining Nude paintings were a very common choice of this artist who found such art works would allow him to really cover the human body with as much detail as possible. The artist also clearly found a connection with many of his models and this helped him to produce good work. It also made it easy for him to retain previous models for future art works with many of them appearing again and again, which is something that can also be seen in the careers of others too.

Jeanne Hebuterne was the most frequent model used by this artist and you also notice her name used frequently in the title of works from Modigliani whilst other models would often just be referred to as something generic and less personal, as seen with the Reclining Nude painting above. This underlines how the artist became emotionally attached to Jeanne Hebuterne and one portrait of her is included below for your reference.

Modigliani's time in Paris quickly altered him considerably, where a previously well dressed, well organised gentleman started to become anti-establishment and his appearance quickly started to show this. His studio, additionally, became messy too, as he started to separate himself from what most people would consider a normal, everyday lifestyle. This change was never reversed and Amedeo even started ripping up renaissance paintings from earlier in his career as he desperately attempted to distance himself from his earlier work.

The new artist combined an abstract feel with elongated elements in his portraits and he seemed contented with this new approach, continuing it on for many years until his eventual death. This sudden movement from traditional to modern ideas with such passion has been seen in the careers of several artists from this period, which was a challenging time when much of art was changing. The likes of Kandinsky, Klee and Pollock all went along a similar path, breaking away abruptly from their traditional training.

Jeanne Hebuterne

Jeanne Hebuterne appear again and again in this painter's career, as we mentioned previously, and a well known portrait is included above. It is unclear as to whether she was chosen frequently because of the artistic value of her appearance, or a close relationship that she already held with the artist.

Either way, the image of Jeanne Hebuterne can be seen more than any other in this painter's career. When the artist arrived in Paris for the first time in 1906 he met Juan Gris who also had made a similar journey himself and it was immediately clear from then on to Amedeo that he was in the right place to expand his creative ideas and also to find people who would be interested in the style of work that he was producing.

Juan Gris was just the first of many notable artistic names that he came across and spent time with during his extended spell in the French capital. There was one area of Paris known as Le Bateau-Lavoir which really suited his situation, as an artist with very little finance but an adundance of energy and enthusiasm for progressing his career. It was a great melting pot for artists who had little time for all traditional ideas that had gone before and even with all their different styles there was a general acceptance of the new and innovative, which was to characterise modern art as it started to gain a foothold in Parisien culture.

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque

Popularity of Modigliani Paintings in the late 20th Century

Modigliani continues to excite audiences in the present day whenever exhibitions of his work are set up, with good sized audiences always guaranteed to this important European painter whose work is modern and original. Most of his originals are spread around the continent between permanent collections and national galleries and so there maybe at least a few close by to you if you want to see them with a naked eye. There may or not be an upcoming exhibition near to you, so why not buy a reproduction print or poster of his work for your own home. It is a great alternative an easy to organise from any of the many retailers available online who have a great selection from his career to choose from, along with different frames for those looking for a really professional finish.

The images included in this website link to the store where you can order your own, and we will then receive a small commission from them for your business. aims to hold all of the great artist's work eventually and will regularly add more as we go on, as well as adding translationso of the existing content too. The intention is to produce versions of the site in French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, with more languages to then follow afterwards depending on the success of the earlier ones. There will also an extension of the gallery to cover all remaining pictures and then potentially give each their own page and information later on.

List of Famous Amedeo Modigliani Paintings offers a small gallery of the best that this painter has to offer, but for those looking to study his career in further detail, please see the full list of art works below.

  • Gypsy Woman with Baby
  • Reclining Nude
  • Self Portrait
  • Woman in Large Hat
  • Woman with Red Hair
  • Large Seated
  • Seated Nude
  • Jeanne Hebuterne
  • Pencil Sketches
  • Woman with a Fan
  • Nude with Necklace
  • Nude Straiato
  • Reclining Nude from the Back
  • Portrait of Juan Gris
  • Seated Nude
  • Woman of Algiers
  • Woman Lying on a White Cushion
  • Portrait of Diego Riviera
  • Self Portrait
  • Standing Nude Elvira
  • Woman with Cigarette
  • The Boy
  • Renee
  • Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne
  • Nude Caryatid
  • Moise Kisling
  • Monsieur Deleu
  • Portrait of Max Jacob
  • Seated nude with a shirt
  • Pretty Housewife
  • Nude with a Hat
  • Mme G van Muyden
  • Female Nude
  • Girl with Braids
  • Girl in a Green Blouse
  • Elena Pavlowski
  • Jean Cocteau
  • Franz Hellens
  • Chakoska
  • Jeanne Hebuterne I
  • Cypress Trees and Houses