Life and career

The Fosso Reale


Amedeo Modigliani’s father wasn’t a present figure in his son’s life, was certainly much more present his mother, Eugenia Garsin, essential to raise up again the family’s economy. The most importante male figure present in the artist’s childhood was his maternal grandfather, Isaac Garsin. Between them, that spent a lot of time together, there was a deep relationship interrupted only by the death of the grandfather in 1894. Together they took long walks following the route of the Fosso Reale, a great ditch with defensive intent that followed the perimeter of the city and that then was used for commercial purposes, reaching the port, crossing the city. A city that was really different from now, because the bombing and the following reconstructions have changed, partially, the city’s face.

Isaac Garsin was a distinguished man, with exquisite manners and elegant gestures, characteristics that his grandson inherited. Isacco had also a great intelligence and had a large culture: he could speak many languages (Italian, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Greek, Arabic and English), he was passionated about literature, chess and philosophy (the Garsin boasted of being descendants of the famous philosopher Spinoza). Staying with his grandfather and listening all those speeches, Dedo had developed a reflexive disposition and often, when he spoke with his friends or family, he included quotes or references to works, writings or philosophers mentioned by his grandfather.
The relationship with his grandfather was central to his culture: endowed with a lively intelligence, he learnt quickly and all those information he received, growing up, also became real interests for him. He was, in fact, passionate about literature (he knew by heart poems of Baudelaire or entire passages of the Divina Commedia) and philosophy (he loved Nietzsche very much).