• Julia Sumzina

La Notte Italian Season: Admiring Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) is one of the most famous painters of XX century, an Italian genius of Bohemian art in Paris.

His life and creative way is characterized by the deep sensuality, psychologism, individual style in painting, the way of living very far from holiness, the tormented relationship with passions and vices.


Amedeo Modigliani and Jeanne Hébuterne (the exhibition in Faberge Museum, 2018)


At the same time, Anna Akhmatova, who was his muse in 1910-1911 wrote:

  • "He had the head of an Antinous and eyes with sparks of gold— in appearance he was absolutely unlike anyone else. His voice remains engraved on my memory for ever. I knew he was poor, and no one knew what he lived on. As an artist, not a shadow of recognition."

She described him as a romantic and intellectual person, with whom she was reciting Verlaine sitting on the bench in Luxembourg gardens:

  • "In drizzly weather (it rains a lot in Paris) Modigliani carried an enormous, decrepit black umbrella. Sometimes we sat under this umbrella on a bench in the Luxembourg gardens, with the warm summer rain falling and le vieux palais à l’italienne sleeping nearby, and together we recited Verlaine whom both of us remembered by heart, happy at remembering the same passages."

This side of Modigliani's personality is usually forgotten by media, which present him as the second Caravaggio: wild and "maudit"*. Now we cannot learn a lot of new facts about the his personal treats, but looking at his paintings, sketches and sculptures it's very easy to feel those rainy days in Paris, the poor and romantic youth and the inspiration, which was everywhere and in everyone around even for always lonely Amedeo.


In 2018 there was an exhibition dedicated to Amedeo Modigliani, Chaïm Soutine and other artists of Montparnasse in Faberge Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Let's look at some atmospheric photos from that exhibition and admire Modigliani's art.


The exhibition poster and the portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne, 1918


Little girl in blue (1918) / Portrait of Elvira (1918) / Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne (1919)


Portrait of Chaïm Soutine (1916) / Postrait of a sitting woman in white blouse (1919)


*People called him "Modi" which pronounce is the same as "maudit" (fr. cursed).


Source: Memories of Modigliani by Anna Akhmatova (Bolshevo 1958-Moscow 1964) published in The London Magazine (Sept., 2018).

Text and photos: Julia Sumzina



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