Amadeo Modigliani's story is one of the most Romantic - and tragic - in modern art. He arrived in Paris in 1906, a dapper, bourgeois, slightly stiff young intellectual, who sniffed at Picasso's 'workman's clothes'. The city was was in the throes of artistic revolution, fuelled by sex, drink and drugs; and the beautiful Modigliani soon capitulated to the Bohemian pleasures of absinthe, hashish, sex and opium. He threw off his middle-class propriety, and with his good looks and enormous talent, became the shambolic toast of Paris. After a short while, he succumbed to addiction and, eventually, to tuberculosis, dying destitute and a failure at the age of 35. His pregnant lover, the beautiful poet Jeanne Hébuterne, leapt from a window to her death the next day.
It is a testament to the power of his talent that when people think of Modligiani, they think of his art before his desolate story. We know it instantly. Sultry, expressionistic works, populated by nudes and elongated figures with blank, unknowable eyes. His paintings are ripe with Egyptian, Greek, Roman, African, Asian and early Renaissance influences - and now sell for ridiculous sums. Last year, his 1917 Reclining Nude sold for a record-breaking $170m (£113m).
Next year, the Tate Modern will stage a major Modigliani exhibition; the biggest the UK has ever seen. We don't know much yet, but we can't wait to get to know this modern Italian painter a little more intimately.
|What||Modigliani: Tate Modern Exhibition|
Bankside, London, SE1 9TG | MAP
|Nearest tube||Southwark (underground)|
22 Nov 17 – 02 Apr 18, 10.00–18.00, Sunday – Thursday, 10.00–22.00, Friday – Saturday
|Price||£16, without donation £14.50) Concession £14.00 (without donation £12.70)|
|Website||Click here for more information|