Thursday, January 6, 2011

Trento Italy Art Travel - Modigliani Scultptures Brought Together in Trento

Trento Italy travelers will be lucky enough to have the opportunity to see the sculptures by Amedeo Modigliani that remain today in museums around the world united by the Trento and Rovereto Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MART) for the first show of its kind since the Italian artist's death in 1920. The exhibit near the northern city of Trento, outside Venice, which runs until March 27, displays about a third of his known sculptural works, featuring loans from museums such as Washington's National Gallery of Art, London's Tate and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Modigliani, born in Livorno in 1884 in the Italian port city of Livorno, famous for its canals on Tuscany's coast known by Italy cruise travelers for its Italy cruise port, where Italy cruise shore excursions typically visit Florence and Pisa, is far better known for his portrait paintings, which are identifiable by their mask-like, asymmetrical faces and elongated form. For a brief interval though, from 1911 to 1913, Modigliani dedicated himself entirely to sculpture.

In 1909, Modigliani returned home from Paris to Livorno. Modigliani was sickly and tired from his wild lifestyle. Soon he was back in Paris, this time renting a studio in Montparnasse. He originally saw himself as a sculptor rather than a painter, and was encouraged to continue after Paul Guillaume, an ambitious young art dealer, took an interest in his work and introduced him to sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi.

Although a series of Modigliani's sculptures were exhibited in the Salon d'Automne of 1912, by 1914 he abandoned sculpting and focused solely on his painting, a move precipitated by the difficulty in acquiring sculptural materials due to the outbreak of World War I, and by Modigliani's physical debilitation.

MART museum curators argue his sculptures represent an under-recognized, seminal period of artistic development, when Modigliani evolved beyond the post-impressionism of his early work to the distinct expressionism that characterized his pieces after 1913. The exhibit features a series of elongated stone heads that bear a striking resemblance to archaic, oriental and tribal art in their simple, highly stylized form. The curators, who worked for six years on the exhibit, verified through extensive research that Modigliani completed 28 sculptures, three more than previously ascribed to him. The show also strives to reconstruct Modigliani's life and influences, retracing the marks of critics, collectors and other artists as well as cultural fashions of his time. Drawings, paintings and sculptures place Modigliani's heads in context, such as an early version of Constantin Brancusi's sculpture The Kiss, oriental sculptures of gods from the seventh and eighth centuries, and a 15th-century marble bust of Battista Sforza by Francesco Laurana, which Modigliani used as a model. Modigliani's portrait of Pablo Picasso, completed in 1915, is also on display, as is a nude by Picasso from 1907.

In life, Modigliani exhibited his sculptures only once, selecting a group of seven heads for the Salon d'Automne of 1912.

To many, Modigliani came to represent the tragic figure of the Bohemian artist. His life inspired nine novels, a play, a documentary and three feature films. Although he frequented the artistic avante-gard in Paris, where he lived from 1906 to 1920, Modigliani developed a style entirely his own, never falling in step with Fauvism or Cubism.

Modigliani, Picasso & Salmon
Friends who posed for Modigliani's characteristic portrait paintings include Picasso, Jean Cocteau and Diego Rivera, although Modigliani's reputation as a major artist soared only after his premature death from tubercular meningitis at the age of 36. Prey to self-destructive indulgences in hashish and alcohol, Modigliani was as well known during his life for erratic behavior as he was for his talent. He died destitute, when his young lover, Jeanne Heburterne, was nine months pregnant with their second child. Two days after his death, she plunged from a fifth-storey window, killing herself and their unborn child. During his career, Modigliani only pulled off a single one-man show, which was shut down for obscenity shortly after opening, as it featured a number of nudes. A Modigliani nude fetched $42.7 million (42.7 million euros) at auction last November in New York City, setting a new price record for his work. Other Modigliani paintings have recently sold for tens of millions of dollars.

The MART exhibit represents the first major effort to rehabilitate Modigliani's sculptural work since four high school students and a dockworker dumped fake Modigliani heads in a Livornese canal in 1984. The falsified sculptures were found by workers dredging for lost work by the artist, who was rumored to have tossed away pieces in a moment of despair. Art critics who embraced the discoveries saw their reputations dented when the hoax was revealed, and Modigliani's sculptures have suffered a dearth of attention since.

For more on the Italian Arts click WebVisionItaly Italy Arts channel. Click to sign up for our Italy travel newsletter by entering email address in left column below the Italy destinations. If you would like to visit Trento for the Modigliani exhibit contact Italian Tourism Italy travel agents who have all inclusive Italian vacation packages to visit Venice and Trento, as well as Florence and Rome.  If you prefer a Italy cruise contact our Italy travel agents for a cruise from Venice that includes the Modigliani exhibit in its Italy cruise tour.

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