Modigliani at the Courtauld Gallery London

From: Rudi Scholl
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 29 April 2002


Every time I visit this beautiful collection I find a new painting which I didn't understand before, usually on the top floor, one of the greatest in the world. Seeing painting is as close as we can approach to truth. Eternal, as least since oil painting was invented, it provides us with a taste of an objective hierarchy, good and bad, sometimes flexible at the margins, but always waiting to hit us again with the punch of great painting. That is why painting is so cold and unappealing, inhuman in its constancy, outside of our facile love of contradiction is its beauty cold and haughty. Painting will never love us. So Modigliani. Always a joke artist for me, a name better than his cartoon nudes. Today I saw it, a naked woman, that had the awkwardness of being without clothes, and the simple painting absolutely necessary, the perfection of the curl of hair resting on a breast, just varied widthes of lines and scuffy paint, and red and green in the background, and the figure at an angle across the canvas. Everything right and beautiful, and an intoxicating truth, without meaning or importance for today. But true enough for Tolstoy.

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