Amedeo Modigliani

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Modigliani, Amedeo

Modigliani, Amedeo (ämādĕˈō mōdēlyäˈnē), 1884–1920, Italian painter, b. Livorno. In Paris after 1906, Modigliani first worked as a sculptor and was influenced by the works of Constantin Brancusi, cubism, and African art. Soon, however, he developed a unique style in painting, creating sensuous nudes and singular portraits characterized by an elongation of form, a purity of line, a sense of sculptural mass, and a languorous atmosphere reminiscent of Florentine mannerism. Although known to other artists and many Parisian intellectuals, he remained largely unknown to the public during his short life, which was one of poverty, dissipation, and disease. Shortly after his death from tuberculosis, his portraits and figure studies became highly prized by collectors. Modigliani is particularly well represented in the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.


See biographies by W. Fifield (1978), J. Rose (1990), and M. Secrest (2011); studies by J. Modigliani (1958), J. T. Soby (1963), A. Werner (1967), C. Mann (1985), A. S. Pfannsteil and B. Schuster (1986), A. Kruszynski (1996), D. Autkrystof (2000), K. Wayne (2002), M. Restilinni (2003), and M. Klein et al. (2004).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Modigliani, Amedeo


Born July 12, 1884, in Leghorn, Italy; died Jan. 25, 1920, in Paris. Italian painter and sculptor. Representative of the school of Paris.

Modigliani studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. He lived in Paris from 1906. The creative work of H. de Toulouse-Lautrec, P. Cézanne, and P. Picasso, as well as African plastic arts, influenced his work. As a sculptor he developed under the influence of C. Brancuşi, gravitating toward simplified geometric forms and elongated proportions (Head, limestone, 1913; Tate Gallery, London). His style of painting, with its decorative flatness, sharp, laconic composition, musical silhouette and linear rhythms, and rich color, became defined at the beginning of the second decade of the 20th century. In his paintings, most of which are one-figure portraits and nudes, Modigliani created a special world of images—intimate and individual, but at the same time similar in their melancholy preoccupation with themselves. The paintings’ unusual psychologism, permeated with nuances, and their lucid poetic character are combined with a constant and, at times, tragic sense of man’s vulnerability (Leopold Zborowski, 1917, Museum of Art, São Paulo; Elvira, 1919, private collection, Bern; Reclining Nude, 1919, Museum of Modern Art, New York).


Vilenkin, V. V. Amedeo Modiriani. Moscow, 1970.
Valsecchi, M. Amedeo Modigliani. Milan, 1955.
Sichel, P. Modigliani: A Biography of Amedeo Modigliani. New York, 1967.
I dipinti di Modigliani. Milan, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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