“It’s like… . It’s like a slave painter.”
Those who had visited the artist’s studio at least once said this. I did just that. He was a severe alcoholic. He couldn’t do anything if he didn’t drink. Those who wanted the painter’s paintings took advantage of this fact. He gave him a cheap workshop, put him in a drink, invited him to drink, and put money into his hand for a drink when he was done. There was even someone who pushed a painter and a model into his studio, gave them a bottle of alcohol, and locked the door, saying, “I’ll take you out when I finish the portrait.” Just as fuel is put in to make a car move, the painter is used as a ‘painting machine that runs when you put alcohol in it’.
What’s surprising is that the painter didn’t seem to hate this kind of insulting treatment. In fact, he knew that he was being used. But the artist was too accustomed to this drinking, painting, and self-destructive lifestyle. He wasn’t even in a position to blame anyone else. The biggest responsibility for being in this kind of situation was with myself for not being able to stop drinking.
The name of this helpless alcoholic is Amedeo Modigliani. His life was steeped in alcohol and drugs, and he was full of debauchery. Even in Paris, France in the early 20th century, when living a life of revelry was considered a virtue, he was notorious for his dissolute life. By contrast, however, his work exudes a surprisingly serene atmosphere.The contradiction that the work of the person who lived the most messy and noisy life contains more serene sensibility than anyone else. Introducing the life and world of works of the painter who gave birth to the contradiction.
‘A handsome man like an angel’, what’s inside
On the day Modigliani’s mother went into labor at her home in Livorno, a port city in northern Italy, his house was busy with family members moving around. It wasn’t to help with childbirth. It was to pile up her valuables on the bed where Modigliani’s mother lay.
The reason why this absurd thing happened was this. The Modigliani family, which was originally rich, had a huge debt due to a business failure around the time he was born. So, the bailiff was dispatched to seize the property, but the bailiff arrived when the childbirth had just begun. But in Italy, there was an old law that ‘the bed of a pregnant woman or mother, and the things in the bed cannot be confiscated’. So, it is said that Modigliani’s family piled up various valuables like a mountain next to the mother who was giving birth to protect her property. Modigliani’s tragic and contradictory life may have been foretold like this since he was born.
Modigliani was very handsome and charming. Everyone who saw him since he was young said, “He is handsome like an angel.” So he was popular all his life. Unlike his blessed good looks, though, his health has not been blessed by God. When he was young, he fell ill several times and was on the verge of death. He decided to become an artist at the age of 14 after suffering from a high fever and hallucinating an art museum.
When he was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of 16, Modigliani’s fortunes changed forever. Tuberculosis is still a terrible disease, but at that time it was the worst plague and incurable disease, in which people had no choice but to die slowly. It was the leading cause of death among Europeans at the time.
He fell into alcoholism, in fact, to hide his tuberculosis. At that time, even if people forgave a drunkard, they would never keep a tuberculosis patient around. But Modigliani had to live in the city, paint and sell. So he drank, smoked and did drugs to hide his tuberculosis. Then, even if he coughed up blood or coughed up blood, he could just blame it on “alcohol and drugs.”
After studying at art schools in Livorno, Florence, and Venice, he left for Paris, the world’s art capital, in 1906 at the age of 26. At first he was the image of a good-looking aristocratic muppet who didn’t drink much, was a little less social, and dressed his clothes aristocratically. When I met Picasso, I was overflowing with ‘fashion pride’ to the point of saying, “You are a genius, but that doesn’t justify your fashion being a mess.” But after a year, he was walking around like a beggar. He didn’t have money to buy alcohol and drugs, and he didn’t have time to care about how he dressed because he was always high on something.
Masterpieces that didn’t sell
Modigliani’s paintings are so unique that once you see them, you won’t be able to forget them. The faces and necks of the figures in his paintings are absurdly long, and the eyes are small and almond-shaped. The atmosphere is soft yet serene.
This style of painting was influenced by the ‘African Primitive Art Boom’ that was taking place in the European art world at the time. In the early 20th century, many traditional artworks looted from African colonies circulated in the European art world, and their exotic style was very popular among artists. the writers said. “Western art up to this point is fake. Natural, simple and pure African sculptures are what we need to learn. ” Picasso and Matisse were also such artists. It was in this atmosphere that Gauguin left for Tahiti in the South Pacific to find primitive beauty.
Modigliani was no exception. In 1909, he studied sculpture under the master of modern sculpture, Constantin Brancusi. Brancusi was also influenced by primitive African art. He did not have money to buy materials, and the work of carving out stones while drinking dust was too bad for his body, so he returned to painting, but Modigliani’s style was established at this time.Portrait painters at the time were not very interested in making their models look like their real counterparts. After all, no matter how well you draw, you can’t jump over the camera. Instead, portrait painters started distorting the subject in their own way. Through this, I tried to reveal the character of the model that cannot be known in the photo. Modigliani was a painter who pushed this idea to the extreme. Using the model in front of her as a springboard, she tried to express what she thought was the essence of human beings, human unconsciousness and instincts.
The art world’s evaluation was pretty good. However, in the eyes of the general public, this kind of painting was just an ‘elongated picture that did not resemble the model too much’. It was too radical. The work did not sell, leaving Modigliani frustrated. Alcohol also increased. His first and last solo exhibition, held in December 1917, also ended with nothing but happenings. The gallery owner hung Modigliani’s nude work in the shop window for ‘noise marketing’, but it was overly successful. When the crowd gathered too much, the police were called to the scene, and the police ordered the nude painting to be taken down, saying it was disrespectful. The exhibition dried up, and Modigliani’s frustration grew.
crooked loveThe people around him were as crooked as Modigliani was. His patrons advised Modigliani to “paint more” and offered wine, whiskey, and cognac. So was his close friend, patron and gallerist Leopold Zborowski. He loved the work of Modigliani, who was so obsessed with it that he tried to control the painter. Even though Modigliani disliked it, he often visited the studio, refused to sell it to customers who did not have affection for Modigliani’s work, and on the contrary, gave it away to people who appreciated it. In any case, it did not help Modigliani’s situation very much.Tuberculosis, drinking, drugs, poverty, and dissolute life made Modigliani’s body and mind more and more disfigured. But the more he did, the more Modigliani clung to painting. For him who was losing everything, art was the only thing he could find the meaning of life for, and he was the comfort and purpose of life.
Another cause that devastated his body and mind was a complicated romantic relationship. Modigliani was still a charming man. But his addictions and erratic temperament always had tragic endings. If the other party did not abandon Modigliani and leave, Modigliani abandoned the opponent, and each time he drank more, and his tuberculosis intensified.
Modigliani’s ‘last love’, Jeanne Hebuterne, was the hottest and most tragic of all. In 1917, 33-year-old Modigliani and 19-year-old Hébuterne fell in love like fire. According to people’s testimonies, Hebuterne was “a beautiful woman with a contrasting black hair and pale skin, giving off a strange and out of this world atmosphere, and was just the type of Modigliani.” On the other hand, Modigliani’s fatal charm and talent were also exactly to Hébuterne’s liking. The two loved each other fiercely.
But sometimes some love is destructive. A relationship in which two lacking people collide and gnaw at each other. Modigliani and Hebuterne were like that. Modigliani lives with Ebuterne and even though she has children, she still drinks, cheats on her, and sometimes even flirts with her.
Hebuterne, who was watching this, not knowing what to do with her. When Modigliani had a fatal attack from tuberculosis in 1920, she did not contact anyone and simply stood by Modigliani day and night. It was only a week after they lost contact that acquaintances found Modigliani lying in her house, and in the meantime, things were already too late.
No one knows why Hebuterne neglected Modigliani. There is an interpretation that ‘it was because I was so embarrassed and sad’, but it is not convincing. Scholars say that Modigliani could have lived long enough if he had contacted a doctor. Maybe Hebuterne thought like this. ‘With or without you, I can’t live. Let’s finish everything together now.’
And the day after Modigliani’s death, Hébuterne threw herself out of a fifth-floor window with her second child in her belly.
Modigliani became a legend as soon as he died. The death and flame-like love of a young, handsome, prodigal genius writer. It was a topic that everyone could see. Friends of Modigliani, they spread fantastic stories about the painter. Half was sorry for not being good enough when he was alive, and half was greedy to become a part of the ‘Legend of Modigliani’. In any case, the price of a painting skyrocketed, and after the work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1922, it began to run so steeply that it could not be afforded. His work, which was said to be given but not taken, became so expensive that it was sold for $ 157.2 million (about 211 billion won) at Sotheby’s auction in 2018.
The world took advantage of him constantly. As he went on, he fleshed out the beautiful legend surrounding Modigliani. Numerous books메이저놀이터 and movies have been published. When Hebuterne asked, “Why don’t you draw pupils?”, a plausible line was created in which Modigliani replied, “I will draw pupils when I know your soul.” In 1959, on the 75th anniversary of his birth, a plaque reading “Amadeo Modigliani, a painter who was a courageous genius” was put up at his birthplace in Livorno, Italy.
There were also bizarre things. In 1984, a museum in Livorno searched the canal bed after hearing that “Modigliani had thrown a sculpture into the canal near his house.” When I found three of his head sculptures there, the whole city went into a festive mood. However, this was done by nearby college students who imitated Modigliani, carved a stone and threw it to attract attention.While watching the press conference of college students, the museum director collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Local bakeries commemorated this event by making and selling large statue-shaped bread. The company that made the tools that college students used to carve said they promoted the product, saying, “The performance deceives even the director of the museum.”
It’s a terrible irony, but in a way, the fact that this happening continues means that Modigliani’s duality is as attractive as it is. Modigliani was a self-defeating man who fell into alcohol and drug addiction. However, as an artist, he was a master who left behind beautiful and original paintings that were nowhere to be found by pioneering a new path with his own beliefs regardless of his reality.
A contrast between a messy life and a quiet world of art. A paradox that became a legend only after death. As if such irony is life and art, sadly, but as if there is no choice but to affirm everything. The eyes of the characters in Modigliani’s paintings are attracting many people even today, with complex emotions. With these words that Modigliani left while he was alive. “I didn’t draw pupils, but the people in my paintings can see the world. To show a silent affirmation of life.”