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Italian artist celebrated in Spain
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Inspiring works of more recent vintage go on display in Spain.

Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani is being remembered. A retrospective of his work is on show in Madrid. It's a rare opportunity to see both the paintings and sculptures by the troubled artist. It is a collection of his works believed to be his most inspirational creations.

The show, housed in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, promises insight into Modigliani's art and to the main influences of his turbulent life.

Modigliani's life was marked by poverty, stormy relationships, and drug abuse. All combined to bring about his premature death in 1920.

Born into a wealthy, cultured, Jewish family in Livorno, Tuscany, Modigliani left for Paris in 1906 to try out the French capital's bohemian life.

He toured art galleries and was deeply impressed by the vitality and suggestive power of works by a number of artists, including Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso.

Not long after, he met Picasso and began to rent a ramshackle studio next to him in the Bateau-Lavoir at 13 Rue Ravignan.

Guillermo Solana, museum director, siad, "Modigliani built a sort of human model very static (sculpture). Then he took this model to his painting. His portraits, of his friends and of his models until 1914, really look like stone idols dressed as common people. But they all have solemnity.

They are as inscrutable and static as the stone sculptures he created in the previous years."

While in Paris, Modigliani was unable to sustain the comfortable existence he had enjoyed while living with his parents.

He soon fell into a lifestyle characterized by the abuse of alcohol, hashish smoking and peculiar behavior.

He painted with exaggerated gestures, sometimes shouted at his models and often destroyed canvases when they did not meet expectations.

While deep Italian Renaissance roots are clearly visible in Modigliani's compositions, it is possible to trace the evolution of his unique style.

Modigliani died tragically of tubercular meningitis on a cold winter's day in January 1920. He was 35.

The current exhibition runs till May the 18th.

( February 20, 2008)

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