Friday, February 5, 2010

Amedeo Modigliani, The Great Latin Lover Part II

When I was 19 I first saw some of the many paintings of female nudes by the famous Modern Art Master, Amedeo Modigliani, in Chicago. At that time I knew very little about the artist but I was struck by how sensual and lush his paintings were. He paints the female model as if he were the lover.
Later I found out.  Indeed, he was!  Amedeo Modigliani, an Italian artist living in Paris, was wildly handsome and had no problem attracting the women who flocked to him, posed for him and were discared for the next edition.
It was in 1917 that he met the beautiful 19 year old Jeanne. They fell in love but her parents were opposed to their daughter's involvement with Modigliani. For good reason. They saw him as a druken derelict which is what he had become in his years in Paris. Addicted not only to alcohol but also narcotics, Modigliani was not the perfect companion for their lovely daughter.  One eye-witness, André Salmon, reports:
"He was dragging her along by an arm, gripping her frail wrist, tugging at one or another of her long braids of hair, and only letting go of her for a moment to send her crashing against the railings of the Luxembourg. He was like a madman, crazy with savage hatred." http://www.artchive.com/artchive/M/modigliani.html

In 1920 the story ends. Modigliani, the great Italian lover and artist, died at the age of 35 of tubercular meningitis. Shortly after that his young, beautiful and nine months pregnant girlfriend threw herself from a window. Both the mother and baby died.
There was another baby daughter who was born in 1918, she survived the death of her parents and went on to research and preserve the history of her parents.  From Modigliani's life and death a legend was created.  It seems there is a current movie that has been released on his life.

Jeanne Hébuterne

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