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I am sure that Meryle Secrest s goal was not to get me thinking about how public health has changed over the last century than Amedeo Modigliani However, that s what happened I have always been appreciative if not wild about Modi s elongated portraits, and that has not changed Despite Secrest s best efforts, I see him as no than a Very Good Artist While he hung with Picasso, he is in Moise Kisling s cohort Who is Moise Kisling Exactly.What this book did do was make me realize that, the necessity of health insurance reform aside, as far as public health goes, we are very lucky Modi suffered from tuberculosis, among other things, and when I say suffered, I mean it It was a disease that, in improperly heated homes and on poor diets, would ravage and wither a body Because its origins were not understood, those who had it were often shunned or displaced Let s hope that only a lack of talent keeps would be artists from succeeding in the future. What seemed superficial was in fact full of nuance p.5 Unmarried, they shuttled from house to house, feeling stifled, unappreciated, and blocked, taking refuge in a kind of neurasthenia common to intelligent women who have caught a glimpse of a wider world and then been barred from entering it p.39 in the nineteenth century, calling a woman insane was often a convenient way of getting rid of her A sense of frustration was seen as a perverse refusal to be happy, arguing with a husband a sacrilege, and rebelling against her natural roles as dangerous p.45 A group of artists had rejected the stale formulae of the academics and were dedicated to an art that would mirror the reality they saw around them p.53 This is what geniuses are like childish, rather silly, self centred and impossible to put up with p.58 There is considerable evidence that the experience of almost dying can have a life altering, if not transfiguring effect p.68 I am a reflection of other people s lives p.81 He trusted any stranger we might introduce to him, and was completely open, with no pretences, inhibitions or reserve p.113 He already had a deep rooted confidence in his own worth He knew that he was an innovator rather than a follower, but he had not as yet received a single commission p.114 In a former age artists might never be rich, but they could count upon the patronage of the church or the aristocracy and were honored and valued Now art had become a commodity, to be sold for whatever the market could bear, and the artist a sort of tradesman with no special claim to respect or status p.119 Each evening, candles fixed to each stone head would transform a squalid studio into a sacred space One imagines him seated there in the darkness, safe in the magical circle of his imaginary temple p.143 Carco thought, in common with Baudelaire, that the only escape from the eventual annihilation of the spirit that Bohemia represented was the discipline of work p.152 great artists seldom take any interest in the events of the outside world They are occupied in realising their own images and achieving formal necessities p.202 And he grandly threw out, or threw away, pearls of his imagination as if they were small change p.233 Happiness is an angel with a grave face No one who had endured what he had, and survived, could possibly think otherwise p.237 His was the dilemma common to every artist, i.e., how to be true to his inner vision and at the same time reconcile himself with what the market wanted to buy, or was ready for at that moment p.266 Great artists like these go to the end of themselves, and the beauty of their work is a reflection of themselves, after all They are courageous, to the edge of death p.299 FREE DOWNLOAD ♱ Modigliani ☨ Bello E Dissoluto, Grande Bevitore E Implacabile Tombeur De Femmes , Impetuoso E A Tratti Violento Sono Alcuni Dei Clich A Cui Si Associa In Genere La Figura Di Amedeo Modigliani, Uno Dei Protagonisti Pi Anomali E Geniali Dell Arte Italiana E Mondiale Una Fama Che Ha Dato Adito A Una Vera E Propria Mitologia, Alimentata Da Una Generosa Produzione Di Libri E Film Ispirati Alla Sua Vita, Spesso Storicamente Inattendibili Un Ombra Che Si Estende Sulla Sua Personalit , Oscurandone Aspetti Che Si Rivelano Fondamentali Per Comprendere Davvero L Originalit Delle Sue Opere Meryle Secrest, Colpita Dalla Potenza Espressiva Di Alcuni Suoi Dipinti, In Cui Ogni Pennellata D La Sensazione Di Qualcosa Di Definitivo, Quasi Ineluttabile E Rivela La Presenza Di Una Sensibilit Complessa Che Il Mito Da Solo Non Pu Spiegare, Andata Alla Ricerca Di Un Modigliani Sottotraccia, Per Molti Versi Sconosciuto L Autrice Ripercorre Le Tappe Salienti Della Sua Vita Descrivendo L Ambiente Familiare D Origine, Economicamente Modesto Ma Colto E Raffinato, Gli Anni Di Tirocinio A Livorno E Venezia, Le Suggestioni Artistiche Che Pi Lo Influenzarono Da Botticelli A Van Gogh, Da C Zanne E Brancusi Alle Sculture Primitive Dell Africa E Dell Oceania E, Soprattutto, Racconta Di Quell Evento Che Segn Per Sempre La Sua Esistenza La Tubercolosi, Contratta Da Adolescente E A Causa Della Quale Rischi Pi Volte Di Morire Questa Malattia, Considerata All Epoca Un Onta Sociale E Per Cui Non Esistevano Cure Efficaci, Fu Il Segreto Che Modigliani Custod Gelosamente E Che Condizion Ogni Suo Comportamento, La Sua Arte E La Sua Visione Del Mondo, Intrise Di Fatalismo E Idealismo In Realt L Abuso Di Alcol E Laudano, Sostiene La Secrest, Non Legato Al Suo Temperamento O A Un Atteggiamento Anticonformista Ma Al Tentativo Disperato Di Lenire E Mascherare I Sintomi Del Morbo Si Delinea Cos L Immagine Di Un Modigliani Inedito, Timido E Fragile, Che Mise A Dura Prova Se Stesso Per Portare A Termine Il Proprio Lavoro Creativo Nonostante La Povert E I Patimenti Intorno A Lui Lo Scenario Impareggiabile Della Parigi Dei Primi Del Novecento, Dove Si Trasfer Poco Pi Che Ventenne E Rimase Fino Alla Morte Una Citt Di Straordina Rio Fermento E Dinamismo, In Cui Confluirono Artisti Di Ogni Paese Per Rivoluzionare L Idea Di Arte Rigorosamente Documentata E Riccamente Illustrata, Questa Biografia Ci Restituisce La Storia Veritiera Di Un Genio A Lungo Incompreso, Svelandoci Nel Contempo Le Radici Pi Profonde Dei Suoi Capolavori I found this book very well written, and the subject fascinating It was carefully researched and thoughtfully presented I came to it initially after seeing a rather bad movie on the artist, which piqued my curiosity, mainly because nothing and no one can make Modigliani boring I was also taken with Jeanne Hebuterne, his last mistress, who died at 22, and wanted to learn about her I intend to do research on her, but this book did fill in many gaps Secrest s main thesis seems to be that Modigliani was not the debauched, selfish libertine he has been portrayed as being However, although I believe his tuberculosis may well have been behind his use of drugs and alcohol, as well as affecting his brain, I have trouble forgiving a man who knew he had a highly infectious and deadly disease, chose to mask it, and run the risk of infecting others with absolutely no compunction This is no reflection on Secrest in fact, it is to her credit that she does not try to gloss over her subject s faults and failings, presenting us with a richly nuanced and detailed portrait of a complex artist Modigliani, after all, is fascinating partly because of his mix of exceptionally good and appallingly bad character traits I also enjoyed the picture Secrest painted of Bohemian Paris, very detailed and atmospheric. Lots of interesting facts, but also way facts than I needed to know about his relatives Cool to read about all the artists he spent time with in Paris A good insight into Modigliani s miserable life Crummy childhood beset by Pleurisy, Scarlet Fever, Cholera and TB Then he lives the bohemian life in Paris finding his simple line, but mostly drinking to hide his consumption TB is highly contagious and people were very paranoid about anyone with a bad cough The author has written 10 biographies so she knows what she s doing, but she gives us details than you d ever care to know Her task, to debunk the many myths about Modigliani s drinking and drugs, is all the difficult when there are so many friends who spread the myths She also was denied any help or documents from Modigliani s common law wife and mother of their child, Jeanne Not a great book, unless you re into early 20th century artists. Modigliani A Life was scrupulously researched by its author Meryle Secrest, who clearly was passionate about the subject I found her book a fascinating account of the artists life He was filled with contradictions and wracked by recurring illness tuberculosis which he self medicated with alcohol and various drugs Meryle Secrest s most interesting insight, in my opinion, was the way in which Modigliani s need to keep his illness secret to wear a mask informed and influenced his art In the 19th and early 20th centuries, tuberculosis, was a shameful scourge, which caused people to be shunned for fear of contagion Tuberculosis was a wasting disease without a true medical cure Women who suffered its effects, such as those immortalized by Pre Raphaelite painters, were considered fashionably beautiful willowy ultra thin bodies, elongated necks, pale complexions, wan expressions, shining eyes It seemed that, for the most part, Modigliani lived to sculpt and paint Art was his life All else was either pleasure, pain, joy, sorrow, distraction or inspiration but creating art was at the center of his being He was true to himself in this essential way although he wore a mask to hide much of who he was from the world. I enjoyed reading this, my first biography of Modigliani His life is fascinating and it was a great book to encounter his art on a deeper level And to its credit, the book was enjoyable to read and went fairly quickly that is, after making it through the early days which generally aren t that exciting for anybody.Having said that, Secrest is a professional biographer and I felt like much of the book was a distillation of things that she had learned through the years by writing the lives of Frank Lloyd Wright, art critic Kenneth Clark, and others At times, the story veered from Modigliani s life In addition, for good and bad, the author works hard to correct the historical record that Modigliani was a drunken soot At times, it reads like an activist piece in that she works really hard to defend his behavior Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot though I kept thinking that there must be a better Modigliani biography, either out there, or to be written in the future. The Tragedy of Modigliani,Meryle Sechrist has proven her merits as a biographer in her books on Frank Lloyd Wright, Kenneth Clark, Bernard Berenson and Leonard Bernstein and she has always shown a penchant for cleansing the facade of famous people and examining their lives in context with the times in which they lived and worked In MODIGLIANI A LIFE she has written a near novel about a fascinating artist whose works are deeply admired but whose personal reputation has been to date that of a inordinately handsome alcoholic, hashish addicted, imbiber of absinthe womanizer whose behavior when under the influence of his drugs of choice was that of a self destructive and cruel bohemian What Secrest brings to light in this book is how Modigliani s shame at having tuberculosis for most of his life, hiding that ominous fact by altering his mind with alcohol etc partially explains his behavioral patterns It may sound like a clinical soap opera story but in Secrest s learned and highly respected hands a new vision of the life of Modigliani surfaces, making way for a closer appreciation of his art Though he died young at age 35 he left behind his trademark elongated necked portraits of women and men, his polished portraits of colleagues and interesting models, his highly sensually charged nudes on both canvas and paper, and his sculptures whose lines are still being imitated today by artists Secrest shares his life as an Italian born Sephardic Jew from an impoverished family, his affairs with Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and the English journalist Beatrice Hastings and his preoccupation with psychic phenomena The book is accompanied by numerous photographs of the artist and his colleagues and acquaintances and reproductions of some of his works It is a fine mix, the creative writing being enhance by the art instead of the usual byline format many biographical works assume This is no only the definitive book on the artist Amedeo Clemente Modigliani July 12, 1884 January 24, 1920 , it is also as well written a historical novel as any on the shelves of books on artists Grady Harp Sometimes you decide to read a book just because you don t know anything about the subject That s the case with this one I had read one biography by Meryle Secrest, of Richard Rodgers, and I liked it But I had an interest in Rodgers to start with In Modigliani s case, all I knew was that he did paintings of long necked women with almond shaped faces, and my attitude was pretty much that if you ve seen one of those paintings, you ve seen them all So when the bound galley of this book showed up, I decided I d check it out to see why Modigliani deserved a biography The premise of Secrest s biography is that he has been misrepresented as a self destructive drunk who just happened to paint a lot of good pictures She puts the blame for his erratic behavior and his alcoholism on tuberculosis, which because it was a disease that once had the stigma that AIDS recently carried, was something he was made an effort to conceal And that his drinking was really to keep him from coughing so much I think she makes her point, though at the expense of reiterating it unnecessarily Oddly, it is not until the very end of the book that she comes to grips with Modigliani s stature as an artist, admitting that in academic and critical circles, his work is not always considered of the highest rank It fetches high prices at Sotheby s and Christie s, and is generally popular, but the same could be said of Salvador Dal , whose work lacks critical cachet these days On the scale of great moderns, does Modigliani belong in the company of Picasso and Matisse, or in the company of Dal It s probably an unanswerable question, but to my mind, after reading Secrest s book and looking at a lot of Modigliani on the Web, I d say that Modigliani was a great colorist with a superb skill for line and composition, but that on the other hand a lot of his portraiture verges on caricature There is a hint of mannerism in his work that makes it tiresome after a while But Secrest s analysis of some of his paintings is persuasive, and if anything, has sent me back to look at his work with a keener eye no, if you ve seen one Modigliani, you haven t seen them all.