Modigliani (part 2)

My summer reading included a Modigliani art book by Parisot.

modigliani by christian parisot I enjoyed this book more than the other Modigliani book I read last spring.

I made a quick slideshow and synced to a Yellowcard song called Only One.





1. Modigliani really loved to sculpt, but the dust and heavy work involved made him even more physically ill. Here is one of the limestone carving he made.

head made of limestone


2. Modigliani’s portraits have elongated necks and almond-shaped eyes, which give us a similar feel to his sculpture work.

Some say his work shows keen psychological insight for his sitters, along with a special rhythm that can be felt with each brushstroke.

Portrait of Marevna, 1919 modigliani Rosa Porprina, 1915 modigliani portrait of Madame Pompadour, 1914 - Modigliani portrait of a polish woman - modiglianiTeresa, 1915 Portrait of a Woman 1915 modiglianiblue eyed boy


3. Modigliani had poor health since childhood. His ongoing health problems also made him unfit for war, and so on 8-3-1914, when war was declared, he was not able to go and fight.

This allowed him to paint some of his best pieces, and he also met a very special love in his life, Jeanne.

modigliani and jeanne
L- Modigliani self-portrait, 1919 & R- Jeanne Hebuterne in Red Shawl, 1917

4.  Modigliani painted 16 portraits of Jeanne Hebuterne.

Jeanne was Modigliani’s baby-momma – well – she was also the last love of his life and sadly, she committed suicide the day after he died on 1-24-1920 (thanks Amy).  So sad!! (She was also 8 mos. with child at the time – even more sad…)

Jeanne Hebuterne  modiglini
Jeanne Hebuterne


5. Modigliani only made 5 landscape paintings and here are 3 of them.

Notice that the one on the left has a nice big ol’ “Y” in it (thanks Dedo)…M o d i g l i a n i - 1 priorhouse

6. This 1906 painting is one of the few early works that survived.  It gives us a feel for his early works before he had the Paris permeation.

Woman's Head with Beauty Spot, 1906 modgliani
Woman’s Head with Beauty Spot, 1906

7. This 1919 portrait is the very last painting created by Modigliani. Some say that Modigliani’s last works show that he was centered and more settled, even though still sick with tuberculosis and substance abuse.

Portrait of Mario Varvogli modiglinai - 1919
Portrait of Mario Varvogli, 1919


8.  When Modigliani painted a portrait, he needed to have the sitter in the studio. He made a lot of nudes, but I am not going to include them here for manny reasons. 🙂

Modigliani said, “In order to work I need a live person before me.” This is different from other artists, like Cezanne, who said that painting comes from the mind.

Parisot notes that Modigliani “started with a probing analysis of the sitter’s character, and then made a particular study of the individual’s particular beauty and gentler qualities. And even closer rapport was created between the artist and his sitter (male or female) they reflected each other in a mirror.”


modigliani collage - 2014

9.)  Amedeo, or “Dedo,” Modigliani was native Italian and he missed Italy very much. He stayed in Paris to create as an artist. He created most of his work in France over a period of 15 years, and when he died he murmured:

"Cara Italia!"

10. Here are some of his signatures from paintings:

modigliani signatures

11. Two Quotes from Modigliani:

modigliani“What I am searching for is neither the real nor the unreal, but the subconscious, the mystery of what is instinctive in the human race.”

“Always speak out and keep forging ahead. The man who cannot find new ambitions and even a new person within himself, who is always destined to wrestle with what has remained rotten and decadent in his own personality, is not a man.”

12. Modigliani, as noted in Part 1, was greatly influenced by other artists, especially Cezanne.  This landscape has a Cezanne feel to it:

Landscape -southern France, 1919  Amedeo Modigliani
Landscape -Southern France, 1919

Have a nice Friday –

In case you missed it, here is the link to Part 1 and in a couple of months, I will have a part 3 for Modigliani.

Also, in  a few days I will share a couple more “great read” I had this summer/fall.  Peace!




39 thoughts on “Modigliani (part 2)

  1. I know very little about art so I appreciate this morning lesson Y. Intriguing work. The last painting definitely reminds me of Tuscany.


    1. well now that you mention it – that one reminds me of a couple of pictures from some of your posts – how cool! even though I guess this one was painted in the south of france….
      Looked it up – was
      painted in Cagnes or "Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur région…"


      1. Hi Sue – well I think you are sensing something spot on here! – Modigliani was actually was from Livorno – which is on the western coast of Italy – so this was his childhood stomping grounds and the place he went home to visit – he also painted “Beggarman” in Livorno there in 1909. 🙂


    1. Thanks for the typo alert!! ❤
      and I think the fact that you like his landscapes shows me a little bit about your preference (and side note, I can tell a lot about a person from the art that they do and do not like….) and well,from my reading I learned that it was 1918 when Modigliani painted 4 of his landscapes, he may have made more, but when he was breaking free from his classical training – he trashed much work – and he also was sloppy with taking care of his work – which was not just because he was buzzed all the time, he was truly a free spirit, well make that a well-mannered, well dressed, well mannered man who seemed to love people much.
      Modigliani and Jeanne (who was very pregnant) had just left Nice, and were staying with Fujita in Cagnes and he painted these 4 landscapes. So I think what you might be feeling – in addition to the compositions – well we have the work of a more mature and settled artist – a man who is expecting his second child and he has a woman who adores him. Life was never perfect, but he was centering more and more – and I think if he stayed alive longer we would have seen much more landscapes from this every changing artist. 🙂


  2. I thoroughly enjoy this series, Y – the paintings and the snippets of information. I wonder what it was about Paris that helped him create. I’ve always thought of Italy as having a very strong artistic tradition.


    1. Hi JIll!! 🙂 and well, thanks for saying that – because I actually do have a few more posts in mind for him, like his use of symbols, personal likes/dislikes, and the personal side to this talented, handsome, and sickly dude who thirsted for recognition – who was also known to strip down at parties -near the end of a long night – and he was sometimes tied down to refrain from doing this! I think much of his behavior shows more need for his physical relief – because when you are sick inside and feel like sh** all the time, well…. um…

      anyhow, at this time, around 1906 – Paris was the “place” to be as an artist – it was the art capital of the world as a few different new art movements were emerging here. Some artists came there to study – and enrolled at schools or were self-taught – but others – like Modigliani – came to be a part of the exciting action in Paris – also came to make/sell art and get recognized. But most of the artists of this time desired change in the art world – oh, and Modiglinai’s work is also cherished because of the historical slice of life he was able to preserve in his canvasses – we get the fashion, the people of the time and more….


      1. Your ideas for future posts are fascinating! Of course about the Paris thing, Impressionists were gathering there weren’t they? Or maybe that was a little bit earlier? I think amongst writers Paris was the place ro be in the 1920s.


      2. well here is an excerpt (p. 49) that has some juicy details…
        In 1906, Modigliani arrived in Paris at a time when
        “Painters and sculptors flocked to Paris from everywhere, particularly from eastern countries, looking for peace, recognition, and patrons. The prime importance accorded to science, the repaid growth of industry, the desire to shatter established conventions – these were all reflected in art through a rapid series of trends.
        After the Neo-Impressionists came the Fauves and the Nabis, then the Cubists and the Futurists, the Secession Movement in Austria, and the Expressionists, closely followed by the exponents of Abstract art. Many artists working in Paris were strong personalities who sometimes expressed their loves and hates violently. Perhaps Modigliani was aware front he start of the creative volatility engendered by these impatient seekers after truth in Montmarte and Montparnasse.”


    1. well thank you for dropping by Katie 🙂 and I agree – they do have character even though I know not everyone likes it… 🙂 ❤


  3. Thank you for taking time and effort to introduce/educate us of Modigliani’s art work and his life. I like his portrait paintings, he used expressions and posture to tell stories (seems to me). The last paint does has a Cezanne feel to it. Thank you for guiding us to appreciate his work, Yvette. 🙂


    1. well thank you Amy 🙂 ❤ and I think you are so right about the differing postures, and well, Mann and Parisot also note more about how the sitter positions – and action details reveal affect for the sitter – and there are some derogatory details in some of his works…. 🙂


    1. thank you rookie-notes – and that is how I felt after reading both Modigliani books – smarter! and better in my soul! ha! ❤


  4. This is not the type of post I would normally read, and I’ll admit I skipped the first (which I will rectify by going back and reading when I’m done here) I am just not this “worldly”. I am just a simple country girl, that never quite made it to the country. Do you get my drift? But you got me going and I couldn’t stop. I like the Woman,s Head with Beauty Spot and the Landscape of Southern France. Who woulda guessed. 😉
    Thanks for the enlightenment, Yvette.


    1. Wow Gemma – this really is sweet to read – and wowwwww – how cool is this?
      I know what you mean about your country side – even though I am just starting to enjoy your blog shares. And I was wondering what songs came to mind for you with this – ha! jk.. 🙂

      The two pics you noted are interesting to me too. I did not spend too long on this post, and intentionally kept my own words to a minimum, but I did hand select each picture I shared.

      The reason I started with the large photo of “Head” in limestone, was because to know Modigliani, we have to know in sculpting was where Modigliani found some inner joy- he stopped for health reasons, and also due to $ – cos sculpting is not cheap, and he even at times used “railway sleepers” – or wooden ties- to sculpt elongated figures into…

      When he went back to painting after sculpting, it influenced his work greatly.

      Parisot notes that early on Modigliani – at times, felt “rejected by a society in which he refused to carve a place for himself.” He refused to go the route of the commercialized artist or making money as a “fashionable painter of the times”- but thankfully early on, he had art dealers and friends who saw the value of his life’s métier and in the end, Modigliani “had done what he set out to do.”


  5. Typically I do not like this type of art, mostly because I just don’t understand it, but, your writing about it drew me in to want to learn more. I was shocked when I read that his woman committed suicide the day after he died and she was 8 months pregnant, how sad.


    1. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 ❤ and I think one reason I like studying artists is because it is one more chance to learn about the ups and downs we all go through – as you know 🙂 – and one thing I get from Modigliani is to "do what you do" and to let your own niche flow… oh, I dunno –
      well have a great weekend and thanks for your visit

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was very interesting, Yvette, but how sad that he was unwell for most of his life and died so young. What a tragedy for their young daughter Jeanne to lose both parents within a day of each other, although she was probably too young to realise. I really like his landscapes , but his portraits not so much.


    1. Hi S- and yeah, so sad for many but especially the daughter – argh! and actually, I am thinking about teething my hands on a copy of the book the daughter wrote in 1958, Modigliani, Man and Myth. anyhow, I guess that she was adopted by an aunt, and I guess her first husband was named Mario – which just so happened to be the name of the sitter in her dad’s final portrait painting…. O_o
      anyhow, I can understand your take on the portraits, but I think they grow on a person – but truly not everyone’s style!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a limited vocabulary, right now, Professor Prior. Here it is:
    “Wow.” No flattery. I don’t know much about art, and your post ushers me into a greater knowledge of fine art and those individuals who brought their giftedness to the world. Modigliani’s work is absolutely beautiful. The elongated necks are fascinating.


    1. Thanks Dr. T – that is a huge compliment my friend. And while I like learning more and more about art, I do have to balance it with other fun things – even though that never really quite includes the outdoorsy chainsaw cutting that you are artistically gifted with – ha! TTYL 🙂


  8. I can feel Modigliani’s wrestle with 2 cultures (the South of France is definitely a different atmosphere than Tuscany – more rurally oriented). I admire any artist who perseveres with/in his/her art despite health issues.


    1. Hi Jesh – I agree ❤ – and "anyone" who perseveres through ongoing health issues has huge respect in my book…. whew 🙂


      1. sorry for the typo – it needs to be perseveres:)

        I always enjoy your comments. They’re straight from the heart (and no obligatory gushing, haha -you must be an artist!)


      2. ah you are sweet – and yes, I definitely have an artist side – and actually one day, the blogger Pommepal gave me an adjective that I really loved – she called me “artistically inclined” and I think that sums up so much for me…
        well thanks again and have a great week 🙂


  9. Thanks for this insightful frolic in the world of Modigliani, Yvette. Wow, impressive post. I loved all the paintings. I wonder what possessed him to try sculpture when he already had TB.

    I’m fortunate you stopped by my blog today, it reminded me to visit. ❤


    1. well he was sick all his life – from childhood – and so I think as an artist he was drawn to sculpture. Now critics do have some comments on how he never sculpted full bodies – he only created the heads – and also, if he would have stayed sculpting we would not have some his later paintings, which many believe to be some of his best.


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