I think many people know that one of Modigliani’s nudes was just sold to a Chinese businessman for $170,000,000. I’ve never really been interested in Modigliani, but decided to see how many other nudes he’d done, and it turns out quite a lot. Here’s a selection of 13 of the best ones I discovered. The one above is probably his best painting of booty.
This painting is the big seller, which you’ve probably seen by now if you follow the art world.
This next one is a huge Jpeg, so if you click into it you can really see his technique! I think he may have struggled a little with the eyes and mouth, but he got the boobs down.I mean, they are way more realistic than her nose and chin.
This next one was in one of my art books, so was already emblazoned in my memory.
This one’s just called “Nude”. He could really take liberties with how he abstracted the face, like that long curved nose, and he needn’t to much more than suggest fingers, but when it came to the bosom, well, that’s where he really paid careful attention. They have volume and a sense of buoyancy, but her nose is in profile so you can imagine it smooshed against her cheek if you try.
Next up has a a seductive look, and the classic pose from Titian (but I’m not gonna’ make this an art history lesson). I think this one is called, “Come Hither”.
This next one is more about the glory that is the thigh and side buttock!
And here we have a seated nude, and can see Modigliani getting back to the basics. Notice the careful lighting on her left breast, which includes a shadow, highlight, reflected light, and specular highlight. This is important in order to achieve roundness and separate the breast from the body in illusionist space. When it came to her jaw, well, he just painted a dark line like in a coloring book. Good enough.
This one is a variant on the $170,000,000 special, and it does occur to me that Modigliani’s paintings are probably among the easiest to make forgeries of. Wait a minute, the torso is pretty much the same, with a bit more hip action, but the arms and face are in a completely different pose. Took me a minute to notice that. Since the second arm wasn’t even attempted, I do wonder a bit about forgeries.
Here’s another. I probably don’t need to point out how the faces look like drawings out of coloring books and the bodies have much more shading and modeling.
Another reclining nude, but the treatment of her head is really different and more articulated, especially the eye, which is a bit suspicious. It is a later painting, so maybe he got better at painting faces, but I kind of prefer the more caricatured ones (otherwise they stop being Modigliani’s and just become more generic nudes, though in this case with one breast that’s like a ripe peach).
Here we have a whole new pose!
And one more unique pose to wrap things up. Her left arm looks a bit like a baguette, and her eyes would work well on an alien, but I suppose that’s not the main point.
Finally, all the images in one gallery.
I would fault Modigliani for taking the easy route of making Fine Art porn in order to garner sales, but he didn’t have much success in his short life. He died at 35 of tubercular meningitis.
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