Born to a Sephardic Jewish family in Livorno, Italy, Modigliani studied briefly in Florence and Venice before moving to Paris in 1906. His portraits chronicle the lives of fellow artists and poets, although the woman in this painting remains unidentified. Influenced by African masks and Cubism, he rendered her features as flat, geometric planes. The gracefully elongated neck and nose may also derive from the Renaissance paintings of Sandro Botticelli and Parmigianino, thereby elegantly merging Western and non-Western, modern and traditional styles.
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