Currently showing at the Ulster Museum until the 26th October, this is one of the most famous paintings of the 20th Century.
The painting is a female nude by Modigliani and is renowned for being one his most powerful and controversial pieces ever painted. It is one of a series of nudes and upon the opening of the exhibition in Paris 1916, it shocked the establishment for its depiction of the female form and blatant disregard for the traditional style of Western nudes, in fact it was so scandalous the exhibition was shut down by police.
Modigliani was influenced by not only Western art but, African and Oceanic art and this influence comes across heavily in this painting. The woman in the subject appears to be asleep and at first glance appears to be a traditional western style nude. However the elongated features of her face are the first give away to the artists African and Oceanic influences. Closer inspection reveals a rough painting style, the paint has been applied in thick stabbing motions in some areas and around her hair the artist has used his brush handle to scratch into the paint surface. The choice of pallet and and realistic rendering of the models form are further elements which the audience of the time could not agree with, yet a modern audience can appreciate the painting for its beauty and groundbreaking style, which was far ahead of his contemporaries.
This beautiful piece of art history is on loan from the Courtald Gallery to the Ulster Museum and is an opportunity not to be missed.