Amedeo Modigliani, ‘Nude on a Blue Cushion’, 1917, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
overall: 65.4 x 100.9 cm (25 3/4 x 39 3/4 in.)  framed: 84.7 x 120 cm (33 3/8 x 47 1/4 in.)

Image rights: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

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About Amedeo Modigliani

Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani is celebrated for his iconic portraits, which, with often mask-like faces and striking blue-eyes, have become iconic works of the early 20th century. Inspired by Existentialist philosophy and a rejection of his bourgeois childhood, Modigliani chose not to paint landscapes, like many of his contemporaries, instead using portraiture to explore both his own psychology and that of his subjects, who were typically fellow artists or lovers. Modigliani also painted highly sexualized female nudes that at the time, were daringly erotic. His style is figurative but also highly expressive, and his subjects are shown with quirks and asymmetries, recalling the portraiture of Paul Cézanne, whose work Modigliani greatly admired. Modigliani befriended Pablo Picasso after moving to Paris in 1906, and like Picasso, he drew inspiration from art of so-called “primitive” cultures, his work often resembling African or Pre-Columbian statuary.

Italian, 1884-1920, Livorno, Italy, based in Paris, France