Victoria Charles

Modigliani

    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    He was impressed by trecento (13th century) artists, including Simone Martini (c.1284–1344), whose elongated and serpentine figures, rendered with a delicacy of composition and colour and suffused with tender sadness, were a precursor to the sinuous line and luminosity evident in the work of Sandro Botticelli (c.1445–1510). Both artists clearly influenced Modigliani, who used the pose of Botticelli’s Venus in The Birth of Venus (1482) in his Standing Nude (Venus) (1917) and Red-Haired Young Woman with Chemise (1918, p.16), and a reversal of this pose in Seated Nude with Necklace (1917, p.17
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Conclusion

    Modigliani’s love of traditional Italian art and his view of himself as working within and developing this tradition meant that his nudes were not intended to be radical or confrontational.

    However, he could not avoid his perceptions being affected by the avant-garde art that was being produced around him and he was inspired by similar influences. This led him to draw together the ancient and the modern, the traditional and the revolutionary. It was this blending of old and new, along with the intensity of his passion and his desire to express himself freely, that enabled him to create a new and unique vision. Despite the tragedy that often accompanied his own short life, his nudes are joyous and appealing and have remained some of the most popular in modern art
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Modigliani’s yearning for perfection in shape and form became an almost Platonic quest to find the essence of beauty beyond the attractiveness and sensuousness of the individual. He began to concentrate on balance, harmony, and continuity of form and to lessen the emphasis on heavy plasticity. He wanted to combine the solidity of sculpture with a weightless luminosity of colour and an elegance of line. This aesthetic aim went far beyond the expression of the eroticism of any single figure.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Picasso, too, had looked away from the depiction of particular individuals in his studies of abstract African sculpture, hoping to find something more enduring in an image than the ephemera of one moment of one person’s life. Modigliani’s depersonalizing of his images can also be seen as part of this artistic aim, especially evident in the portraits that he painted while in the south of France, which include twenty-five of Jeanne Hébuterne. He said, “What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal, but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race” (Doris Krystof, Modigliani).
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Modigliani was also seeking to go beyond images of individuals to convey a timeless and eternal quality outside of everyday social morality and behaviour. This idea was inspired by the classical concept of beauty but also chimes with Cézanne’s abstraction and reduction of complex forms to their simplest essences. Chaim Soutine said of Cézanne, “Cézanne’s faces, like the statues of antiquity, had no gaze.”
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Those that are awake appear calm and unconcerned or have blank eyes and are lost in an introspective world, undisturbed by the observer. Modigliani is primarily interested in the shapes of the bodies of the models, not their characters, and the blank or closed eyes emphasize this disengagement. Blank eyes also represent the inner-directed gaze and introspection that fascinated Modigliani; they also constitute a comment on the nature of voyeurism and observation.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Despite depicting his models as particular individuals, Modigliani makes surprisingly little attempt to engage with them emotionally or to portray them psychologically. He maintains an objectivity and a distance as artist, especially in his later nudes, and does not overtly attempt to solicit any specific emotional reaction from the viewer. This allows the viewer a freedom of response, but also distances the artist from any direct involvement in that response.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Manet’s Olympia caused outrage because it celebrated a confident and unashamed prostitute; most of Modigliani’s nudes are not coy and demure like Giorgione’s Venus or Titian’s nudes. Their attitude, along with the reduction of narrative and subject matter to nothing but the erotic body, presented for its own sake, were considered scandalous. It is ironic that these works by Modigliani, who deeply respected and wanted to belong to classical tradition, were seen not as High Art but as outrageous depictions of naked women.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Nude on a Blue Cushion (1917, p.49) also borrows the pose of Sleeping Venus, but she is not demurely sleeping, unaware that she is being watched. Her full red sensual lips highlight both her attractiveness and her desire. This makes her more vivid and tangible than Sleeping Venus despite being less realistic in style. Manet’s Olympia challenged the observer to enter into a visual transaction with the prostitute gazing back out of the picture, but the blue eyes of Modigliani’s figure add to this challenge a disconcerting surrealism. Her blank eyes stare, but stare blindly, so she is both confronting the viewer and remaining oblivious.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Eyes were a potent image in symbolism as the “mirrors of the soul,” representing introspection as well as observation. Modigliani was a keen reader of Symbolist poetry, often reciting verses from memory, and would have seen symbolist works by such artists as Odilon Redon (1840–1916), Edward Munch (1863–1944), and Gustave Moreau (1826–1898) at the Venice Biennial Exhibition in 1903.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Modigliani was fascinated by the way that outline can be used to represent volume. He wanted to translate the solidity of sculpture onto flat canvas while capturing the essence of classical elegance. This unwillingness to abandon the past led to criticism of his work by his avant-garde contemporaries, the Futurists, whose manifesto he had refused to sign.

    The Futurists believed that art should concern itself only with modern styles and themes, such as machinery and motor cars. They thought Modigliani’s paintings were too old-fashioned and they rejected the female nude because it was one of the standard subjects of traditional art. However, Modigliani’s approach to the nude was so individual and innovative that traditionalists were shocked by his work.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    The exchange of ideas must have been phenomenal, and art dealers and collectors, such as Paul Guillaume (1891–1934), whom Modigliani met in 1914, and Leopold Zborowski (1889–1932), who became friends with Modigliani in 1916, also frequented the area. Amidst this hotbed of ideas, Modigliani came to understand many styles before finding his own path. So fast was the pace of innovation that by the time Modigliani was developing his African-influenced Cubist style, the original Cubists were pursuing new ideas.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Modigliani’s debt to the art of the past was transformed by the influence of ancient art, the art of other cultures, and Cubism. African sculptures and early ancient Greek Cycladic figures had become very fashionable in the Parisian art world at the turn of the century. Picasso imported numerous African masks and sculptures, and the combination of their simplified abstract approach and use of multiple viewpoints were the direct inspiration for Cubism. Modigliani was impressed by the way the African sculptors unified solid masses to produce abstract but pleasing forms that were decorative but had no extraneous detailing. His interest in such work is illustrated by his Sheet of Studies with African Sculpture and Caryatid, c.1912/13, p.18. He sculpted a series of African-inspired stone heads (c.1911–1914), which he called “columns of tenderness,” and envisaged them as part of a “temple of beauty.”
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Modigliani’s first teacher, Guglielmo Micheli (died 1926), was a follower of the Macchiaioli school of Italian Impressionists. Modigliani learned both to observe nature and to understand observation as pure sensation. He took traditional life-drawing classes and immersed himself in Italian art history. From an early age he was interested in nude studies and in the classical notion of ideal beauty.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Modigliani was known as “Modi” to his friends, no doubt a pun on peintre maudit (accursed painter). He himself believed that the artist had different needs and desires, and should be judged differently from other, ordinary, people – a theory he came upon by reading such authors as Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), and Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863–1938). Modigliani had countless lovers, drank copiously, and took drugs. From time to time, however, he also returned to Italy to visit his family and to rest and recuperate.
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Fernande Olivier, the first girlfriend in Paris of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), describes one of Modigliani’s rooms in her book Picasso and his Friends (1933): “A stand on four feet in one corner of the room. A small and rusty stove on top of which was a yellow terracotta bowl that was used for washing in; close by lay a towel and a piece of soap on a white wooden table. In another corner, a small and dingy box-chest painted black was used as an uncomfortable sofa. A straw-seated chair, easels, canvases of all sizes, tubes of colour spilt on the floor, brushes, containers for turpentine, a bowl for nitric acid (used for etchings), and no curtains.”
    Xuraman Memmedovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    He soon became friends with the post-impressionist painter (and alcoholic) Maurice Utrillo (1883–1955) and the German painter Ludwig Meidner (1844–1966), who described Modigliani as the “last, true bohemian” (Doris Krystof, Modigliani).
    asalenkahar citeretfor 7 år siden
    What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal, but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race” (Doris Krystof, Modigliani).
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