Life and career

The disease and early art studies


Amedeo’s health soon proved to be poor. During his childhood and early adolescence he will affected by some important health problems: in 1895 he had a severe form of pleurisy and in 1898 typhus forced him to bed in the delirium of fever.

Interestingly, this period, so difficult for his health, was also the beginning of his passion for art. He started to study art and made his first artistic tests, and he realized that he wants to become an artist. Since the beginning he has a different path from his peers: patterns and interests are unusual for that time.

He began to attende the school of Gugliemo Micheli, a pupil of Giovanni Fattori, where he learned the basics of painting and drawing and where he already demonstrated  his disposition as an artist and he met many young artists who are still well-known names of art: Oscar Ghiglia, Renato Natali, Benvenuto Benvenuti e Aristide Sommati.

In 1900 he was hit by a new episode of pleurisy, much more serious than the first, that became, when he was 17 years old, tuberculosis. For this reason, between 1900 and 1901 Eugenia and Dedo left Livorno in search of a better climate, going to the south-central Italy. The journey was very important for Modigliani to store many artistic suggestions and, recovered from the illness, to further consolidate his determination to become an artist. The letters he wrote to Oscar Ghiglia, a schoolmate from Micheli and a future famous artist, testify to this renewed optimism.

Driven by the desire for artistic growth and to find a more open and culturally stimulating reality, in 1902 he moved to Florence where he studied at the Free Nude School of the Academy of Fine Arts. The following year, 1903, thanks to the financial support of his uncle Amedeo, he enrolled in the Free Nude School of the Royal Institute of Fine Arts in Venice, where he remained until 1905.