It could very well be the recent publicity given the artist in the latest James Bond thriller Skyfall when one of the artist's stolen works was featured in the film. That's not enough, however, because even in the ultra-rich art market, there is a general trending towards Modigliani--even as traditionally strong market contenders like Picasso and Monet stay strong--Modigliani is finding his own presence and it's a strong one. Answering a simple question like Why? might mislead us into believing we have the correct answer when, in fact, it's far more complex than we can imagine, however, it's worth our while because art is art, regardless of medium and what happens in one arena (painting, for example) influences another arena (film, or vice versa).
Take the abstraction of the painting below:
|My personal favorite, Woman With Red Hair, |
1917, National Gallery, Washington D.C.
|The wide--brim of the hat mirrors the sloping shoulder of the woman; her long nose echoes the long-finger; the outline of her black dress inverts the outline of the black hat and the backgroud dissolves into a watery reflection of disembodied color. Her shadings of skin tone--from pale to blotchy-red, suggests a disease (Scarlett fever?) or rash or just a fever itself, until--once again--you look at the liefless green eyes, like a soul-less marble, swirled colors revealing the inner-rot and decay of the elegant woman with the stylish hat. Her finger reminds me of the,... |
"noodle-like" fingers of the medieval depiction of St Mark from the Ebbo Gospels: whereas St. Mark's hand was made to look weak so as to communicate to the viewer that the weak human could not have written the Gospel attributed to him, but he was God's instrument, Modigliani seems to communicate the opposite: this woman is so weak she can't even carry out human tasks (the hand symbolizes our strength, so her hand being "rolled" like a batch of dough communicates that she has no strength, so purpose, so presence, the hat is more resolute in its being than she is).
|Modigliani in his studio, Paris, unknown date.|
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
|Modigliani's portrait of Picasso, 1915.|