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What is the value of a bottle of water? Can it cost a memory? Or celebrate a man’s life? It can and has been done as a tribute to Modigliani, a bottle worth $60,000 dedicated to the artist. Inside is a mix of waters from Fiji, France and the glaciers of Iceland; the bottle’s chassis was designed by Fernando Altamirano Di Tequila Ley and made of solid 24K gold. In its structure representing a painter Modigliani’s statue, in yellow gold and white gold versions, the bottle becomes a luxury product as it is itself a jewel.

The bottle design is an artwork tribute to Amedeo Clemente Modigliani’s memory, known as “Modi’” or “Dodo”, nicknames that accompanied him throughout his life as a painter and sculptor. An artist who knew how to represent the sensuality of the female nude while maintaining stylised faces. His paintings personally remind me the beauty of a great woman, who was called “The Swan” because of the elegance of her long, tapered neck, Marella Agnelli; she would have been the perfect muse for this great artist.

Modigliani’s women had an absent, empty gaze. So in 1990, he turned to sculpture for inspiration, but his physical condition prevented him from doing it for a long time, problems caused by alcohol abuse. To avoid this problem, he concentrated on painting in 1914, producing a large number of paintings. He was not very fortunate economically, he was a struggling artist who used harmful substances, and he was ill with tuberculosis, which led to his death at the age of 35 when his work was at the height of its success.

He represented Bohemian art with a linear painting style, and his works are now exhibited in the most important museums in the world. Born in Leghorn on 12 July 1884, to Flaminio and Eugenia Modigliani, he was a lonely, melancholic soul who drowned his pain in rivers of alcohol, managing to maintain his style with his female nudes even when everyone seemed not to believe in his abilities. An artist who did not have an easy life but found the resources to continue on the path that his mother had made him love since he was a child by giving him private painting lessons. His mother also took him to Italy to show him the most important art cities in the country, including Naples, Capri, Amalfi, Rome, Florence and Venice. He attended high school in Livorno and then the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. He studied the works of the greatest masters of the past, frequented intellectuals and shared the pleasure of philosophy and the art he loved, particularly that of Van Gogh and Maurice Utrillo. He spent his youth feeding on literature, reading Carducci, D’Annunzio, Baudelaire and Rimbaud.

Paris remained his greatest love, perhaps because he was of French origin, and because at that time (we are talking about 1906) Paris was the heart of art in the world. With little money and young age, he tried to realise his dreams and hopes. He understood his identity and continued to assert his style in a difficult world of artists. In 1907 he exhibited some of his work at the Salon Des Indépendants, there are few paintings from that period, but they recall Matisse and Picasso’s style. In 1909 he painted the ‘Beggar of Leghorn’, the only work described as ‘modern from an old work’.

The portraits of 1912 are closest to him, such as Pablo Picasso (1915, Geneva, Moos collection). His paintings with elongated bodies and sinuous lines are wonderful brushstrokes of female nudes that caused a scandal. But indifferent to the thoughts of others Modigliani executed more than 300 paintings, mostly portraits. In 1917 he met Jeanne Hébuterne, a talented artist for whom he fell head over heels in a great love affair. When Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis on 20 January 1920, his companion threw herself out of the window. Their bodies lie side by side like a love that could not be divided on this earth, a desperate gesture but full of passion. Art brings with it a battle of moods and internal contrasts. A masterpiece is not born from the mind but the soul.

This is how a bottle becomes a tribute to a great character. It becomes that rarity that contains years of history. It is not indispensable; it is just an exclusive way of representing a great artist’s life.

Article edit by Antonella Malizia

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