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Amedeo Modigliani was raised in Livorno, Italy as the fourth child of a Jewish family. He was particularly close with his mother, who indulged the young Modigliani’s passion for art. By the time he was 14, she enrolled him with the best painting master in Livorno, Guglielmo Micheli.

In 1906 Modigliani settled in Paris where he attended the Académie Colarossi. His early work was influenced by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Georges Rouault, Pablo Picasso, and particularly Paul Cezanne.

In 1909, Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi introduced Modigliani to African sculpture and this new influence would forever afterwards have a lasting effect on his art. The characteristics of Modigliani’s sculptured heads — long necks and noses, simplified features and long oval faces — became typical of his paintings.

For reinvigorating the practice of portraiture, Modigliani’s work is acknowledged as some of the most significant and original of his time.