Modigliani – In Memoriam


Amedeo Clemente Modigliani
Born 12th July 1884 – Died 24th January 1920

I know I’m a few days late with this, but seeing as though Amedeo Modigliani is one of my favourite artists, I thought better late than never.

Tragically, Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis on the 24th January 1920, aged just 35.

What is equally as tragic is that his wife, and muse, Jeanne Hébuterne, was so devastated that the following day she threw herself from the 5th floor of her parents’ home, killing herself and her unborn second child.

Fortunately, their first child, Jeanne Modigliani (1918 – 1984), was adopted by Amedeo’s sister and was brought up in Florence, Italy.

Jeanne Hébuterne

Jeanne Hébuterne

Jeanne Modigliani, daughter.

Jeanne Modigliani, daughter.

I was first introduced to Modigliani’s work by my mate, Markham, who very kindly gave me a sumptuously framed print of this piece…

Seated Nude

Seated Nude

As you can see, Modigliani was very heavily influenced by African masks and sculpture, creating elongated forms and mask-like faces.

He died a pauper. But, as is the way of the world, in 2010 “La belle Romaine” sold for $69 million.

His work inspired me to write a short story, and subsequent screenplay, entitled: “Jeanne, reclining nude, 1917”, about a First World War veteran recuperating in the South of France after losing his left hand.

It isn’t a biographical piece, but moreover, explores the themes of physical and emotional cripples when he begins a relationship with his prostitute model.

Jeanne Hébuterene

Jeanne Hébuterene

Lunia Czechovska

Lunia Czechovska

Leopold Zborowski II

Leopold Zborowski II


Reclining Nude


He was an extremely prolific artist, so if you get the chance to see any of his work in the flesh, I urge you to do so.

The world lost an undefinable prodigy 93 years ago.

RIP Amedeo Clemente Modigliani.

Jeanne Hébuterne

Jeanne Hébuterne

Reclining Nude with Loose Hair

Reclining Nude with Loose Hair







Filed under Art, Contemporary Arts, Disability, Innovation, Inspiration, Literature, Sculpture, Writing

5 responses to “Modigliani – In Memoriam

  1. David, thanks for introducing me to Amedeo Modigliana and his work. What an amount of work and ‘life’ in so few years.
    I have to say I’m interested in your reference to ‘physical and emotional cripples’ for various reasons. The terminology itself is so very powerful and of a different time but the concept of ’emotional crippledom’ is perhaps one that could be used to cast light, from many angles, on the ‘plague’ of suicide.

    • I’m glad you like the post, Jean.

      Yes, I thought long and hard about the use of the word ‘cripple’. The more I searched for alternatives, the more it seemed I was sanitising the issue. Obviously, we wouldn’t use a word like that to describe emotional instability, mental illness, or even a sex worker these days. But thinking about how conservative people were back then and how little was known, or understood, about mental illness, (think of the barbaric treatments for shell shock), I think that anyone who stood out – whether physically or emotionally, would be ostracised.

      That said, perhaps when describing the story, I should look for a more suitable alternative.

  2. Pingback: A Long Night with Tragic Lovers « Country Woman's Musings and Deviant Art

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