Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Modigliani - a genius born before his time

- a genius born
before his time


A review of the book “Modigliani: A Life” by Jeffrey MEYERS was published in The Sunday Times on 25th June 2006. The headline used was “The madness of the muses” by Deidre FERNAND. Her caption went on to read “He was decadent and immoral, and painted hundreds of alluring nudes. But the women Modigliani immortalised on canvas were left crazed and suicidal.” I disagree with her strongly on basing her argument with a gender bias which in the 21st century should be addressed and corrected


The opening paragraph launched straight into the drunkenliness of men at the turn of the 20th century in Paris because of its “relaxed licensing laws”. She went on to say :”“Modi”, as his friends called him, could drink till dawn and frequently did. One young woman, a lover of the Mexican artist Diego RIVERA, observed in Montparnasse (where Modigliani was staying) “Debauchery unlike anything I had seen before…I was so ashamed and revolted that I wept”.”

Such character-assassinating lines continued: “ Had Modigliani, the arch-boho, hung on instead of succumbing to drink, drugs and tuberculosis at the age of 35, he would certainly have taken his place alongside Picasso in the memoir. His racy life merited it. Here was an artist who defied all conventions of sexual morality, who proclaimed he wanted to paint the “mystery of the instinctive in the human race”.”

She then tried to be condescending by grudgingly giving back some recognition: “In his short career, Modigliani produced some of the most alluring nudes of the 20th century.

One of them, Reclining Nude (1917), sold for $26.9 million at Christie’s in New York.

Sensuous and earthy, these women have been likened to the Playboy centrefold. They are nothing like the classical nudes of Botticelli or Titian that he studied as a young art student in his native Italy. Confident and direct, Modigliani’s women gaze out of the canvas at you as equals. They are never demure. Never virginal.”” “Ouch!!!!” Is THAT what you really think lady? How biased can your view be?

For those who are interested in Modigliani’s works, they should at least view the DVD of the “Hollywood version” starring Andy GARCIA. Otherwise, surfing any other museums’ sites on the internet will more than satisfy Ms. FERNAND’s claim that as far as painting women is concerned; “…but there was one area where Modi could equal, if not outclass, the Spaniard (Picasso). WOMEN!” Simply put, if you are like me, an objective follower of his works and also his history; I take a totally different (man’s) view of his life and works and ALL I can say is that if you associate yourself with genius you run the occupational hazard of “being burnt” BUT please let’s NOT judge all others by your own low standard as evidently you ONLY have a biased “FEMINIST” opinion to offer!


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