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The highly celebrated 20th-century Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani is known for his iconic portraits such as the woman with red hair and striking blue eyes.
His works were inspired by philosophies where the artist chose not to paint landscapes like most of his fellow painters.
Instead, he opted to focus on portraiture to explore his subjects who were, in most cases, lovers or other artists, including Max Jacob, Jean Cocteau, and Pablo Picasso, among others.
Influenced by the circle of his friends who were also artists, a wide of genres and primitive art, Modigliani became a unique painter. In fact, the dozens of nudes he painted are some of his best and most popular works.
Nude Sitting on a Divan in 1917, for instance, is one of the most striking pieces and it elicited a sensation immediately it was exhibited in Paris that year. This series was commissioned by his dealer Leopold Zborowski who lent him an apartment, supplied him with painting materials and paid him about twenty francs for every work done. Unfortunately, the little he got from his paintings would vanish into alcohol and drugs.
Most of Amedeo’s work depicted the African heritage and the Columbian statuary, something he might have gained from his Paris relationship with Pablo Picasso, though the stylization may have resulted from being surrounded by medieval sculpture in Italy.
This is evidenced by the faces of the sculptures which resembled the Egyptian paintings with long necks, flat mask-like appearances, and twisted noses. Although he used a figurative style in all his work, the paintings are seen to be strongly erotic with sexualised female nudes and most of them are presented with asymmetries.
Modigliani is said to have started his painted from an early age even before starting off with his formal studies. After enrolling in art school, he studied portraiture, landscape, nude, and still-life. However, the painter displayed his greatest talent in nudes, and it is said that, when not painting, he would be occupied with seducing the household maid.
He later joined the Free School of Nude Studies in Florence and went on to settle in Paris. While there, he was said to work at a furious pace and would sketch an average of a hundred drawings a day. Although he carried on with his passion, his health deteriorated, and his alcohol and drugs intake became frequent. He later died in 1920, and the artistic community attended his funeral.