I knew nothing of the personal life of Amedeo Modigliani when first introduced to his art in college. Only later, after reading his biography, did I learn about the man and a life of sickness, poverty, and addiction. Dead of tuberculosis before the age of thirty-six, Modigliani had only one solo exhibition in his lifetime, and gave away many of his paintings for food.
No introduction to his art was needed. The pain, sorrow and dark beauty of his life were present full force in his paintings, making an immediate and profound impression. Yet there is another element of Modigliani's work that I find particularly appealing. I cannot look at his sublime portraits of women without also feeling a sense of allure, a hint of danger, and, above all, mystery. And isn't that, after all, what we look for in women.