Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian painter and sculptor. In Livorno he studied with G. Micheli, a pupil of G. Fattori; he then went to the schools of fine arts in Florence (1902) and Venice (1903), feeling the influence of Jugendstil, of the secessionist figurative culture, of G. Klimt. In 1906 he settled in Paris. It was the period of the Fauvist explosion and the birth of Cubist painting: these avant-garde experiences were used by Modigliani together with the fundamental Cezannian lesson for the definition of a style that would develop in extremely personal and characterized terms. However, the role, no less decisive than his first and disorganized literary formation, linked to a decadent post-romantic culture, should also be emphasized; it contributed to making him above all the extreme "heir and liquidator" of the nineteenth-century tradition, between classicist recovery and late romanticism. In Paris Modigliani was influenced by H. de Toulouse Lautrec, P. Gauguin, V. Van Gogh and above all by P. Cèzanne, from whom he resumed the construction of figures for large chromatic masses that can already be felt in works of 1909 such as Il mendicante di Livorno and the cello player. After a short stay in Italy, in 1909 Modigliani settled permanently in Montparnasse. It is the moment of friendship with C. Brancusi, of the common discovery of black sculpture and of the expressive and rhythmic force of the line: aside from painting Modigliani devotes himself intensely to drawing and sculpture. He carves heads in stone that are also influenced by the suggestions of archaic Greek plastic, and draws a series of caryatids which he then translates into a single sculpture. The experience of culture is a key step in identifying the constructive function of the line, which was decisive after 1914 for his painting. Between 1915 and 1920 the artist made the most consistent part of his work; almost exclusively portraits, with the exception of some landscapes painted during a stay in Nice between 1918 and 1919.
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