Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Essence of a Person


The challenge of portrait painting is to capture the personality of the subject. Amadeo Mogdigliani (1884-1920) was a master of this art. Like many of the great artists, he was afflicted with nasty diseases--typhoid, then tuberculosis--and he regularly indulged in hashish. Despite his questionable personal life, I do admire his work.

Here is the Portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne (1898 -1920), Common-Law Wife of Amedeo Modigliani. 1918. The features are indistinct, but that doesn't bother me. What I like is the casual feeling of the portrait, and I'm pretty sure Jeanne was pregnant here. It was painted in 1918, and on November 29 of that year, Jeanne Hébuterne gave birth to a girl, who was recognized by Modigliani as his daughter. I like the idea that this is a sort of everlasting tribute to her as the mother of his child.

Unfortunately, Jeanne committed suicide the day after he he died from tuberculosis. According to Olga's Gallery, "They were buried together in the Père Lachaise cemetery. Their orphan daughter Jeanne (1918-1984) was adopted by Modigliani’s sister in Florence; later she would write an important biography of her father, Modigliani: Man and Myth." A sad ending, but a great artist.

4 Comments:

Blogger Amanda Brice said...

I love Modigliani. That is indeed a sad story.

I'm playing around with a YA mystery series right now. Iit's going to be set at residential arts high school and the four heroines (it will be an ensemble piece) are dance students. Anyway, the mystery in the first book will be a painting stolen from the campus art museum, so I've been brushing up on all my art history. :)

8:08 AM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

Cool! I just finished browsing the book orders that came home with my sons, and there were several art-themed novels, a la DaVinci code, and also, perhaps, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Amanda Brice said...

Wanna know what the title is for the Ya story with the art heist?

THE DEGAS CODE.

Yes, total play on DaVinci code (the painting that's going to be stolen will be a Degas, as it's at an arts school and the main characters are ballet students), but I prefer to use the term "homage" rather than rip-off. And really, the only part that's an homage is the name, definitely not the plot.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

And we all know titles are not copyright-able. :) I think it's a fabulous idea. Young ballerinas + Degas/Art? It's a natural fit. Brilliant!

3:37 PM  

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