Amedeo Modigliani (July 12, 1884-January 24, 1920) is perhaps best known for his flamboyant personality and eccentric lifestyle, but is nonetheless one of the most unique artists of the turn-of-the-century. Though he was a contemporary of the Cubists, revealed in the angular and sometimes abstracted features of his many portraits, he was also heavily influenced by the Post-Impressionist attention to color, texture, and gesture. Modigliani, known to his friends as “Modi,” a sobriquet that refers not only to his name but also to his misfortune (“Modi” is a homonym of the French “maudit,” meaning “cursed”), begun painting at the early age of 14. After moving to Paris in 1906, he joined his fellow bohemian artists in the famous neighborhood of Montmartre. There, he formed friendships with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, and Diego Rivera. A wild drinker and user of narcotics, Modigliani’s health suffered throughout his life. Despite these issues, he continued to create his beautiful portraits, nudes, and sculptures up until his untimely death at the age of 35 from tuberculosis.
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