Modigliani and the Poets

Jeffrey Meyers at Salmagundi:

The cultured and literate Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) was passionately interested in and emotionally involved with Italian and French poetry of the past as well as with the work of his friends, Anna Ahkmatova, Max Jacob and Blaise Cendrars. On the 100th anniversary of his tragic death in 1920 we can see how the poets who fascinated him portrayed the pain of sex and love, the exaltation of art, the effect of narcotics on creativity and the need to suffer extreme experience. They encouraged his compulsion to live dangerously, and taught him to see the artist as victim, outcast and superman. They provided intellectual justification for the deliberate derangement of his senses and glorified his devotion to art. He didn’t just read poets. He lived according to their principles as if they were imprinted on his body as well as in his mind. These powerful poets both inspired his work and—as he was drawn to disaster and followed their maniacal descent–helped to destroy him.

more here.