Amedeo Modigliani

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Amadeo Modigliani was born in Livorno, Italy on July 12, 1884. He was a famous Jewish-Italian painter and sculptor. Modigliani was influenced heavily by African masks and primitivism. His paintings are characteristic of quick and precise brush strokes, deformations to the human figure and simplicity of shapes. Modigliani led a very self-destructive and eccentric lifestyle in which he frequently drank and smoked. He was constantly in poverty, however women found him incredibly attractive and later he married a lady named Jeanne Hébuterne, with whom he had one daughter, who was also named Jeanne. He died of Tuberculous on January 24, 1920 at the tender age of 35. His pregnant wife committed suicide the following day.

His painting, entitled Woman with Black Cravat was created by Modigliani with oil on canvas in 1917. It currently resides in the Fujikawa Galleries, Tokyo. I like this painting primarily for its messy and quick qualities.

I like the way that this painting oozes with so many clues that tell us how he painted it. We can clearly tell that it was done quickly due to the way that the paint is applied and the brush strokes used. For example, if we observe the woman’s tie we can see that the main part of it was done with a single brush stroke. The paint is applied sparingly onto the canvas and the white of the shirt below still shows through. The entire painting comes across as messy as Modigliani has splattered dark colours along the bottom of the painting and in the background.

Woman with Black Cravat has a very mundane feeling to it. This is achieved by the use of very dull colours such as greys, pale blues and blacks. The woman stands out well with her rosy red cheeks and warm face. The subject matter of this painting is also very mundane. The woman is not doing anything special, so it is really just a snapshot of common life. She is motionless, gazing at something out of the painting, she has her hair looking messy and her tie is loosened....
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