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Amedeo Modigliani was an Italian painter and sculptor He is among the most important of the 20th century His life is one of the greatest tragedies in art He was born on July 12 1884 to a Sephardic Jewish family in Livorno Leghorn Italy He was raised in a Jewish ghetto His father was a businessman and his brother Vittorio Emanuele Modigliani was in active Socialist leader He became ill in January 1920 and died ten days later of tubercular meningitis He died a pauper on January 24 1920 at 35 His family was poor but they had prosperous relatives so that the boy lacked nothing He attended gymnasium showed signs of tuberculosis at 17 and spent the winter on the Isle of Capri After suffering from pleurisy and typhus in 1895 and 1898 he was forced to give up a conventional education and it was then that he began to study painting After a brief stay in Florence in 1902 he continued his artistic studies in Venice remaining there until the winter of 1906 when he left for Paris well equipped with money from his uncle He attended art classes at the Colarossi school in Paris In 1908 he exhibited five or six paintings at the Salon des Independants He also met the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi whom influenced Modigliani on African sculpting Despite his many love affairs excess of drunkenness frequent lapses into illness and poverty he managed to produce with his relatively short career a substantial body of work More than 20 of his sculptures some 500 paintings and thousands of watercolors and drawings have survived He is best known for his portraits of women and elegant nudes with their characteristic elongated necks almond-shaped eyes calm facial expressions restrained color and energetic grace He used many different techniques One of which is distortion which is the act of deceiving the eye by twisting something out of its original condition
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