Amedeo Modigliani was born in Italy in 1884, but lived in Paris for most of his adult life. It was there that he discovered the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, Georges Rouault and Pablo Picasso. At this time the strong influence of Paul Cezanne was evident in his distortion of the figure and free use of large, flat areas of colour. In 1909 he met Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi who kindled his interest in sculpture to which he devoted most of his time until 1914.
From 1915 on, Modigliani devoted himself entirely to painting, producing some of his best portraits. His interest in African masks and sculpture is evident by the flat, mask-like faces with almond eyes, twisted noses, pursed mouths and elongated necks. Modigliani's portraits convey a strong sense of personality. His personal style is instantly recognisable by his elongated and simplified portraits and nudes.
During his short life, Modigliani had to struggle against poverty and chronic ill health, and at the age of thirty-five died of tuberculosis hastened by a dissolute lifestyle. He was a genius, a womaniser and a victim of drugs and alcohol.
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