Dark clouds gathered over Paris. This year January is filled with melancholy. I’m lying on the couch and looking into the black eyes of a lady from the framed copy of a Modigliani hanging on my wall.
It’s just me all alone with this strange lady. There is nothing and everything at the same time in her eyes. There is so much intrigue and mystery in Amadeo Modigliani’s paintings. This painting was as a gift from my mother. She has a really large collection copies of a Modigliani at her home. Last Christmas, when my little cousin came to her house, he asked: „Auntie, why do you have so many paintings with sad or naked ladies?” But for my mother they are beautiful and soothing. I can feel them staring at me all the time!
The magnetism of Modigliani’s portraits comes from his work with real models. „In order to do any work I must have a live person…someone I must be able to see in front of me” he said. On the other hand I’ve heard that his handling of the eyes, and the absence of visual contact serves to distance viewers from the person represented. She (or he) becomes somehow inaccessible. This style of portraits is in the artist’s own personal visual language. One of Modigliani’s famous models, Jean Cocteau conjectured „he would adapt everyone to his own style, to a type he had inside”. When you analyze his work, you see some recognizable parts: long, oval faces usually inclined to one side, empty almond-shaped eyes, unnaturally thin noses and small mouths, all mounted on a elongated neck.
There is something undeniably magical in Amadeo Modigliani’s paintings. I was thinking today about my life and the tense situation in Paris, and one look at these eyes, full of nothing and everything, made me think about art!