Life and career

The Synagogue


Both the maternal family, the Garsin, and the paternal family, the Modigliani, were Jews. The Modigliani were orthodox while the Garsin were sephardic jews and they had a cultured and cosmopolitan nature.

Modigliani became an adult Jew at 13 years old, in 1897, through the celebration of bar mitzvah but his relationship with Judaism was particular because it blends tradition and modernity, not only thanks to the family but also to the city in which he was born, Livorno.
The Jewish community of Livorno was able to establish roots in the city, giving rise to a solid community, thanks to the “Leggi Livornine”, issued by the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici in 1593. The intention was to increase the city’s population, cancelling dues and sentences, and offering freedom of trade, rituals, religious and political profession. The Jews found in Livorno the only city in Italy and Europe that would leave them free and above all not confine them to a ghetto.

Modigliani then united different aspects: a membership of Judaism certainly influenced by the sephardic culture of the maternal family, in which his grandfather Isaac played a significant role, who also spoke to him of cabal (the Jewish doctrine directed symbolic interpretation of the intimate and secret meaning of the Bible); being Italian and from Livorno, an open and cosmopolitan city in which Jews had a very different condition of life from other cities and countries; have a very broad and composite culture.

Currently we see the new Synagogue that was built after the bombing of Second World War that almost demolished the old one. It could be re-built from his remains, similar to the ancient one, but the discussion, passed to the Union of Jewish Communities, decided to build a new building, with the symbolic intention of emphasizing Jewish vitality after the horrors of the war.