The Modigliani exhibit at the Bunkamura

by Stefan Chiarantano, Oct 9, 2006 | Destinations: Japan

I took in the Modigliani exhibit at the Bunkamura in Shibuya, Tokyo. The show also features the works of Picasso, Fernand Leger, Georges Roualt, and others. The collection of Modigliani sketches, studies, and paintings were originally acquired by Roger Dutilleul.

I'm so glad I went to see it as I found it mesmerizing. The AGO in Toronto possesses one Modigliani regrettably removed from public viewing. Perhaps, upon the completion of the new expansion, it might be re-exhibited. When the Barnes collection stopped at the AGO years ago, it held several Modiglianis which were a delight to behold. So, to see a body of his work was marvelous.

It's been said that religious icons are a window to heaven, and that the eyes are the windows of the soul. So, it was fascinating to study his works since he mostly sketched or painted the outline of the eye. Sometimes, he would paint or sketch in the iris, pupil, eyelids, and eyebrows. I wonder what he was suggesting. Were the completeness of the eyes reflecting his intimate knowledge of the subject? It's something to ponder.

Alas, this troubled, gifted, unique Italian Jewish artist died young leaving behind a body of work that appeals to many if not most people. Perhaps, many are as fascinated as I still am by his treatment of the eyes.

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