Title

Modigliani's New Definition of the Modernist Female Nude

Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

Amedeo Modigliani established a new definition of the modernist female nude, empowering and elevating women while capturing the psychology of the oppressive fate her body had inherited throughout art history. Seated Nude (1908) reaffirms the particular symbolic role of the female figure as “other” for Modigliani, whose alienation and sense of impotence in the face of modernity finds an “allegorical dimension in the various constellations of metaphors and images around the figure of the feminine” to express his own experience of alienation in the modern urban world as an Italian-Jew and as an artist. Despite the fact that Modigliani’s women strategically offer themselves, these “new nudes” also evoke a feeling of stability due to the simplicity of the setting and balance in the composition. The voluptuousness is always kept under control as the dignity of his immaculate style elevates this frankly erotic nude to a higher aesthetic level and therefore internal contemplation. It could be suggested that Modigliani is making a statement in response to past artists’ depictions of women and disputing the evil and corrupt sexuality that these artists portray as a sign of their power. The female nude could also stand indirectly for the self-fashioning of the artist, suggesting relations and hierarchies of gender and creativity. Modigliani’s struggle over the modernist body included the dissection and the depiction of extremes, such as intimacy and desire, in relation to the final work of art while employing characteristics of discipline and formality.

Location

George Wilson Hall

Start Date

6-5-2006 9:00 AM

End Date

6-5-2006 10:45 AM

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May 6th, 9:00 AM May 6th, 10:45 AM

Modigliani's New Definition of the Modernist Female Nude

George Wilson Hall

Amedeo Modigliani established a new definition of the modernist female nude, empowering and elevating women while capturing the psychology of the oppressive fate her body had inherited throughout art history. Seated Nude (1908) reaffirms the particular symbolic role of the female figure as “other” for Modigliani, whose alienation and sense of impotence in the face of modernity finds an “allegorical dimension in the various constellations of metaphors and images around the figure of the feminine” to express his own experience of alienation in the modern urban world as an Italian-Jew and as an artist. Despite the fact that Modigliani’s women strategically offer themselves, these “new nudes” also evoke a feeling of stability due to the simplicity of the setting and balance in the composition. The voluptuousness is always kept under control as the dignity of his immaculate style elevates this frankly erotic nude to a higher aesthetic level and therefore internal contemplation. It could be suggested that Modigliani is making a statement in response to past artists’ depictions of women and disputing the evil and corrupt sexuality that these artists portray as a sign of their power. The female nude could also stand indirectly for the self-fashioning of the artist, suggesting relations and hierarchies of gender and creativity. Modigliani’s struggle over the modernist body included the dissection and the depiction of extremes, such as intimacy and desire, in relation to the final work of art while employing characteristics of discipline and formality.