BY BELISARIO RIGHI
Jeune fille rousse (Jeanne Hébuterne) - Painting by Amedeo Modigliani - 1918
Jeanne Hébuterne, very young, just nineteen, sweet, taciturn, of great beauty and with a depressive temperament, Modigliani's greatest love, was also his favorite model. The girl dedicated her entire short life to the painter loving him with absolute admiration and dedication, to the point that despite being pregnant with their second child, in the aftermath of the artist's death, she committed suicide by throwing herself out of the window.
Photographic portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne
Jeanne's face, with its rounded and essential lines, greatly stimulated Modigliani, so much so that he made about twenty portraits of her in different poses. Jeanne was nicknamed Noix de coco (Coconut), due to the black of her straight hair which contrasted with the paleness of her complexion. Modigliani's pictorial and compositional technique reaches its maximum expression with her. The portrait expresses the perfect balance between the elegance of the face and the incisive vitality of the curved lines, with oval and melancholy eyes and an elongated face, according to the painter's characteristic styles. The model perfectly embodies the simulacrum of female beauty, understood by the Artist, in its physicality, in its pure and rarefied forms, becoming the ideal of a distant beauty, without place and time.
Of all the portraits of Jeanne Hébuterne, executed by the Master, this is undoubtedly the most beautiful.
The features perfectly drawn within the contour lines, the sweet gaze and the feeling of serenity, underlined by the sad smile and the soft gaze, make it one of the most beautiful and elegant portraits of all pictorial portraiture. In the painting, Modigliani wanted to add to the composition an element, unusual for him: the pupils of the eyes, which he usually depicted with a gray-blue monochromatic background. In this regard it is said that Modigliani said to Jeanne: "I will paint your eyes when I know your soul".
Jeanne Hébuterne as well as a model was a painter and good talent, His works, however, were never made public, at the behest of the family, because her choice of love was not forgiven, due to the too much difference in age with the painter, and above all because Modigliani was considered a dissolute, dedicated to alcohol and drugs.
A portrait of Modigliani by Jeanne Hébuterne.