Our visit to Helsinki coincided with the opening of a major exhibition of work by Amedeo Modigliani which had travelled to the Ateneum in Helsinki after being shown in Lille and Budapest.
Modigliani is of course a well-known and popular artist who share with Van Gogh the reputation of being a tortured and unhappy artist whose genius was appreciated only after his death. He is at the very pinnacle of the artist as tragic romantic, known as one of the ‘les peintres maudits’ (accursed painters) who congregated in Paris at the beginning of the C20. Born in 1884, he died early in 1920 of tuberculosis aggravated alcoholism and drug addiction.
There is a great deal to like in the exhibition, but the works which made a particular impression on me were his line drawings, as illustrated above in the picture of a nude appearing through open curtains. The drawings demonstrate a remarkable ability to capture the essence of a subject in a few key lines. His economy of execution manages to reveal both the physical appearance of the subject and their emotional state, in this case a nude figure revealing herself hesitantly.
If you are in Helsinki this exhibition is well worth visiting, as is the permanent collection of Finnish art which reveals much about the history and culture of Finland.