Wednesday, August 22, 2018

"Between The Two"

10 x 10"
oil on panel

The National Gallery of Art in DC devoted a pass-through room to the Italian-Jewish artist, Amedeo Modigliani's paintings - a personal favorite of mine.  My mom, who was an artist,  l-o-v-e-d Modigliani.  She once carved a chunk of wood into a face emulating his oval, elongated shape that is one of my priceless possessions.

Modigliani was born in Italy in 1884, the son of Jewish parents who raised four children in poverty.  Amedeo was a sickly child, taught at home by his mother, exposed to literature, philosophy and art.  He was sent to study classical painting by a local master who often referred to him as 'Superman'. Throughout his young life, Amedeo dealt with severe bouts of tuberculosis, and when he recuperated he picked back up with intense studies of painting in Italy and Paris. He soon rejected the more traditional styles and persevered his own unique, bold artistic flair.

Amedeo was in his early 30's when WWI broke out.  Despite his poor health and continued drug abuse during that time, he produced much of his finest work including sculptures, which he devoted nearly five years to exclusively.  His only solo exhibition occurred in 1917, including over 30 female nudes which was well received by the gallery but not by the local police, who shut it down for 'indecency' on the day that it opened.

Modigliani's passion for art was short-lived and he died of tuberculosis meningitis at the age of 35, in Paris, France.  He is another example of a genius artist who had little success while alive but achieved great popularity after his death.

Please click here for a larger view.

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