Amedeo Modigliani was a painter with a Sephardic Jewish background born in 1884 in Italy. While all great artists are unified in terms of their artistic talent, different factors in their personal lives can make all the difference in terms of how they approach art. On the one hand, Amedeo Modigliani was an attractive individual with a quirky charm who had plenty of close friends and a very supportive mother. His mother educated him in his early years and helped encourage him to be an artist in the first place.

On the other hand, his financial situation was consistently shaky and he suffered from debilitating respiratory problems for nearly his entire life. Amedeo Modigliani came down with tuberculosis as a teenager, a disease that takes years to kill a person but which was nonetheless eventually fatal during his lifetime. At the end of his life, Amedeo Modigliani was actually interested in painting his fellow tuberculosis victims out of a sense of shared experience. Amedeo Modigliani lost his life to tubercular meningitis in 1920, after dramatic young adulthood that certainly left its mark on the art world.

Amedeo Modigliani's tuberculosis interfered with his art education since he had to leave Micheli's Art School prematurely as a result of the disease. Still, Amedeo Modigliani managed to get the introduction that he needed to the art world. Landscapes were all the rage at the time, but Amedeo Modigliani preferred life drawing, which most of his oeuvre indicates.

What's particularly intriguing about Amedeo Modigliani's work is its style. Amedeo Modigliani's selection of work is particularly interesting to look at because it is so varied. Most artists will have a visual signature of some kind, but oftentimes, people that unknowingly looked at a selection of Amedeo Modigliani's paintings might be surprised to learn that the same artist produced them.

All artists are inevitably a product of the cultural climate in which they worked. The art world was very much in a state of flux when Amedeo Modigliani was working, as many different artists were trying to be innovative and challenge preconceived notions about what constituted a work of art. Many different art movements seemed to take shape at this point in time, and artists could still use historical art movements as reference points.

Artists also bring their own unique character to any historical setting. A rebellious artist is going to produce different work than an artist that is heavily influenced by what's currently popular. Most artists fall somewhere between the two extremes. For instance, for Amedeo Modigliani, the Cubist art movement was clearly a strong influence.

However, his paintings are clearly distinct from those of the painters that used a more explicitly Cubist style, and many of his paintings don't seem to have any real connection to Cubism. Amedeo Modigliani seemed to have had a similar rebellious attitude towards a lot of things, given his fascination with philosophers like Nietzsche and his somewhat unstable lifestyle.

Amedeo Modigliani becomes drawn to African art after being exposed to it by his sculptor friend Brancusi. Amedeo Modigliani did in fact try out the sculpture. Ironically, his experience as an amateur sculptor helped make him a better painter. The world becomes an increasingly global society throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as fewer and fewer people living in environments governed by only a few cultural traditions. Amedeo Modigliani's work could be seen as an early example of how an increasingly global society shapes the development of art. Amedeo Modigliani managed to see a lot and accomplish a lot in his brief but dramatic life.

View our Amedeo Modigliani Gallery