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This is the most important exhibition ever organized on Modigliani, with over 100 oil paintings amongst which many masterpieces of portraiture famous amongst which are those of Zborowski, Paul Guillaume, Beatrice Hastings, Jeanne Hébuterne, Soutine, Kisling and Max Jacob. Drawings and sculptures complete an impressive mass of work, gathered from the world's most renowned public and private collections, that is far more than the sum of its parts
'The mendicant of Livorno' is one of the paintings that perhaps prompted Lionello Venturi to say that Modigliani is Cézanne with contours. An early work of 1909, this painting does suggest Cézanne's ‘structural’ approach, using hot and cold brush strokes, but contoured with Modigliani's elegant lines. Without denying the influence of other artists on Modigliani's technique, however, this exhibition has the merit of going far beyond that, projecting the powerful insight of the artist into the human unconscious, and demonstrating with force that true art sets in when matter turns into meaning.
Moreover, Modigliani's work has the mastery of style and technique seen in Cézanne’s coupled with another amazing dimension: that of psychology. His portraits bring out with great clarity the essential character of the subject; going as far as seeing literally through each person's exteriorized projected image, Modigliani touched their soul with his finger tips, uncovering their real personalities, making manifest their true being. His works are the eternal mirrors of each subject’s soul that no photography could have captured with such sharp and definitive judgement. And although his lucidity is handled with delicate tenderness and immense compassion most of the time, he can be merciless at times. It's the human being that interests me above all, his face is nature's supreme creation and I don't tire to use it. What I search for is not the reality, nor is it the unreal; it is the unconscious, the mystery of instinctivity in the human race.