The Royal Academy in London is featuring the brilliant Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani until 15 October. Ah well ...
Here's an extract from the Telegraph preview:
He died in penury and squalor in January 1920 at the age of 35, discovered by a neighbour in the final throes of tubercular meningitis, his bed strewn with bottles of alcohol and cans of sardines, his mistress Jeanne Hébuterne nursing him. She hadn't thought to call a doctor, but her devotion to her lover was so great that, two days after his death, she threw herself backwards from a fifth-floor window. She was nine months pregnant with their second child.
Yet compare that sordid story with Jeanne Hébuterne, A Door in the Background (1919), on display in Modigliani and his Models at the Royal Academy. In this radiant portrait, Jeanne sits slightly off-centre, her head to one side, her falsely elongated, white-sleeved arms to the other. The painting is full of warmth and richness, the red of Jeanne's shawl in subtle contrast to the red of the door and the lower wall behind her. Her blue eyes stare blankly, lost in inner contemplation, like some latterday Madonna, bringing serenity and warmth to the troubles of the world.