Modigliani review – 'a gorgeous show about a slightly silly artist'

By Jonathan Jones

Tate Modern, London
He took the drugs and had the sex. But when it came to painting, Modigliani wasn't the barrier-breaking subversive this exhibition casts him as. Was there anyone he wouldn't steal from?

She looks at me through leaf-shaped eyes with huge black pupils fringed by spiky lashes. Just these eyes alone say sex, without having to even look at the opulently rounded breasts, narrow waist and curvaceous hips of Amedeo Modigliani's Reclining Nude on a White Cushion.

This is one of a spectacular array of paintings of models posing naked that Modigliani made in 1917, while war and revolution blazed in the world beyond his Paris studio. There's a huge gathering of these women at the heart of Tate Modern's highly enjoyable homage to modernism, beauty and love. Modigliani's 1917 nudes, and a few later ones, all hang together in one scintillating gallery. Yet are these nudes really as radical and revolutionary – let alone feminist – as this exhibition makes out?

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Source: Modigliani review – ‘a gorgeous show about a slightly silly artist'