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The Uncannily Strange and Brief Life of…
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The Uncannily Strange and Brief Life of Amedeo Modigliani

by Velibor Čolić

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211747,714 (2.25)8
The life of the painter Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) was chaotic and tragically brief. Consisting of a series of vignettes, mostly set in the painter's studio and peopled by his lover Jeanne Hébuterne (who ended her own life the day after Modigliani's death), the prostitutes who were his occasional models and several Bohemian visitors, the novel spans the last months of Modigliani's life, evoking the strange workings of the painter's troubled and often drug-fueled mind and its expression in his paintings, ultimately succeeding in conveying something of the intense artistic life of Paris in the first decades of the twentieth century. Pushkin Collection editions feature a spare, elegant series style and superior, durable components. The Collection is typeset in Monotype Baskerville, litho-printed on Munken Premium White Paper and notch-bound by the independently owned printer TJ International in Padstow. The covers, with French flaps, are printed on Colorplan Pristine White Paper. Both paper and cover board are acid-free and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.… (more)

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I must preface this review with the confession that I know next to nothing about art. I can recognise the classics that we all know, but beyond that I'm a total art philistine. Such therefore is the joy of the random library pick up, of coming home with a book that would never normally end up on your wish list or mount TBR.

To embarrass myself with my own art ignorance even further, it was only in the middle of reading this book that I realised I have had 2 Modigliani prints hanging on the walls of various homes for the past 15 years without knowing a jot about who had painted the originals.

Anyway, this is an odd little book, printed in smaller than normal size, and written in a poetical randomness which echoes the opium and alcohol fuelled craziness of the painter's short life. Love, drugs, prison, prostitutes, drugs, muses, murder, vagrancy - he lived a life of chaos and debauchery as all the best writers and artists have done for centuries.

3 stars - an interesting read on an artist who was previously unknown to me. But now I will forever understand the pupil-less eyes of the love of his life who stare down at me from the wall of my sun room. ( )
  AlisonY | Jan 23, 2016 |
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