Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), was known as ‘Modi’ for short. He was born in Leghorn of a distinguished Italian-Jewish family and had his first training in Italy before going to Paris in 1906. He spent the rest of his life there, working at first in a manner influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec, but his Cellist of 1910 won him recognition and shows that his real style was based on African sculpture, Cezanne, Picasso and, above all, this Italian heritage. He was a superb draughtsman, and all his work contains echoes of Botticelli, of Sienese Trecento painters, and of some of the Mannerists. Modigliani was handsome, amorous, and addicted to drink and drugs. He said, ‘I am going to drink myself dead,’ and he did.
The paintings of Modigliani, highly characteristic and delicate, are marked by sinuous lines, simple, flat forms, and elongated proportions that are almost classical in effect. He is represented by paintings such as Reclining Nude (1919, Museum of Modern Art, New York City) and Nude on a Divan (1918, National Gallery, Washington, D.C.).