Interview Essay

Interview Essay

Interviewer: This time we are going to meet two famous painters of the 20th century. They are talented; they are famous and one day their pictures will cost millions, though some people believe this and some do not. These artists are the representatives of the modern art. One of them, Pablo Picasso is a Spanish-born draughtsman, sculptor and painter, best known as a co-founder of the Cubist movement. Our second guest is Amedeo Modigliani, an Italian painter and sculptor who works in the impressionist style. The first question to both of you: what style do you personally refer your paintings to? Do you think about it when you work on your painting? Is it important for you or not?

Amedeo Modigliani: I am aware of the fact that due to some of my works I am referred to avant-garde. These are the portraits of my friends and acquaintances Jacques Lipchitz and his wife Berthe, Max Jacob, Jean Cocteau and Chaim Soutine (“Amedeo Modigliani”). People call these works “Modiglianis” and state that these portraits possess the same style. I cannot judge. I am an artist, I do not plan the style but draw in accordance with my mood, inspiration and feelings. My paintings are very emotional; they are sensual. I do not choose lines and colors. Something more complicated than my hand produces the images of my works. Still, I can see that there are some traits of impressionism in my works.

Pablo Picasso: I am considered to be the founder of Cubism as you have already mentioned. Well, I refer myself to this direction of art. However, I do not reject the idea that people change in the course of time. Thus, their ideas, intentions and messages can also change. I am not sure that I will stay in this art direction and will not want to introduce some new ideas in my work. Everything changes and it is fair. I try not to think about it when I paint. I just paint what my imagination gives me. During the process of painting I do not thing of Cubistic techniques. It is not important for me. What is important – is what I want to reflect. I just refer myself to modern artists.

Interviewer: What influenced your decision to become an artist? Was it a spontaneous decision or a natural cause of evens? Did someone influence your choice?
Amedeo Modigliani: I grew up in the Italian province Tuscany. It is a very picturesque place that is well known for its literature (Boccaccio, Dante). Maybe it was the reason of my choice. Maybe it s due to the mysterious atmosphere of the place that I always sought the company of poets and writers. Though most of my pictures are inspired with my residence in France, my motivation can be easily traced back to my youth in Italy. My parents gave me a very good education and thus made me familiar with the world of art, especially with poetry and literature. My mother was very ambivalent about my future (“Amedeo Modigliani biography”). She suspected my career in art. In 1898 I started my drawing classes. I started to paint really frantically. I even neglected my school work. I got my painting lessons from teacher and painter Guglielmo Micheli in Livorno. His paintings belonged to an Italian style of painting that is known as impressionism. During my teens I got seriously ill several times. I also had tuberculosis. During these difficult days I had different visions. My mind gave me various images and I decided to embody them in my paintings. Thus, I became an artist. Later my mother took me to the south of Italia and I visited some museums. Sculpture inspired me and I also became very much attached to it.

Pablo Picasso: Well my choice of the future career was rather justified. My father José Ruiz Blasco was a professor of drawing (“Pablo Picasso Biography”). Thus my unusual adeptness for painting began to manifest itself when I was a 10-year-old boy. I studied hard and soon I was able to surpass my father’s abilities. My father gave me a very good support. He helped me to choose models for my works and also helped to organize my first exhibition when I was only 13. I also attended the art academy in Barcelona.

Interviewer: What or who influences your work? Where do you take the ideas for your paintings from? What is the source of your inspiration?
Amedeo Modigliani: Well, yes of course there is some influence. There are people who made me respect them for what they had done in the world of art. There were several of them. Toulouse-Lautrec. I like the way he made his contours be suggestive and completely define the subject of his works. For me his works seem to be a contemporary confirmation of those artistic principles I am already acquainted with. Then, the great Cezanne. Almost every artist in Paris who claims himself to belong to the avant-garde movement would refer to this magnificent personality. This great man taught me to reduce forms to elementary geometric shapes (the first steps in the direction of abstract art!) and to flatten images. The sculptures of Rumanian artist Brancusi revived my love to sculpture. He greatly influenced the way I depict a human figure. Besides, I could not go by the European classical art. I happen to be familiar with massive collection of European art from all ages. I try to remain faithful to classical roots and that intention results in a mix of classicism and abstract art. I am also greatly influenced by the African art. My pictures have a lot of those elements, such as deformation of the human figures, elongation of faces. Besides, I am also interested in Khmer (Cambodian) sculpture. There is one more outstanding painter who influenced my life and my work to a great extent. He is sitting beside me, he is Pablo Picasso. I will not talk much about him, apart from that I respect him as an artist very deeply. I used some of the Cubism features and the way Pablo depicted his friends during the blue period remains one of the main themes of my own work. Thanks, Pablo.

Pablo Picasso: I can say that I also have something to loan from Amedeo’s style. The truth is that I searched my style so profoundly that I found out one very interesting thing. In fact, I reduced my own style to its most peculiar features. And the interesting thing I found out is that there is much from Modigliani’s style in my paintings. Our styles probable coincided to some extent. You see modern art has much to do with depictions of the military defeats and battles. When we discovered Cubism, we did not have the aim of discovering Cubism. We only wanted to express what was in us. (“Amedeo Modigliani”). Of course, it may sound like a slight understatement. The time we live in is very harsh. It is difficult to think about high ideals and to be concerned with pursuit of human happiness when you have nothing to eat. Sometimes you have to think about exhibitions and sales of your pictures. Still, I also can enumerate several people whose art influenced my own style. When I was very young, I visited the Prado and discovered the Spanish paining for myself. Velazquez, El Greco, Murillo captured my imagination for many years. I copied Goya. Thus, their images, their ideas reappeared in my works.
Interviewer: Talk of the importance of women in your life and your work. Do they really influence you or they have no impact upon your life? Do they contribute to your inspiration or they mean nothing in your art?

Amedeo Modigliani: I find the company of young and beautiful women very pleasant. They make your soul feel happy, forger about transience of life. I like to paint them. Women mean a lot to me. It is an integral part of my work and I prefer these pictures stand apart from everything I have already made. Nude art is closer to reality, that is my personal opinion (“Nude art from Modigliani”). I picture women by their natural form. These paintings show intimacy and intensity that is almost absent in my other works. My nude-art pictures are far from the sadness and loneliness of the real world and our everyday life. They are totally different and that is why I love them too deeply. Women and their depiction is probably the only way I can lift my spirit and forget about the boredom and routine of everyday life. My nude art wins over the daily reality. Answering this question it is impossible to forget about my dear beloved Jeanne. She one of the main sources of my inspiration both in life and in work. She is one of the main reasons of my existence. She is my eternal inspiration.

Pablo Picasso: Our life is nothing without women. I love them and I cannot imagine my life without them. My woman Dora Maar is the whole world for me. I met her when I was in a terrible crisis. I did not work for already half a year and did not want to continue. She dragged me from that terrible state and made me continue my life. She brought the new colors into my life and that means pretty much to me. Our passion is very strong and of course it greatly influences my works. I love the way she lives. Dora is afraid of nothing. She is extravagant, impulsive, unexpected. Men adore her and I am thankful to the destiny that this woman chose me. Life and art with her is the combination of beauty and ugliness, as her photos. She is not afraid to live with an open heart. Of course, she one of the greatest inspirations for me. I like the way she makes photos and I also do this in my works: I speak about distorted proportions, original foreshortenings, the unity of the ideas that cannot be united.

Interviewer: Should a painter sell his pictures for large amount of money in order to have the right to be called a successive and talented painter? What are the criteria that denote a successive painter? Do you consider yourself successive? Do you think your paintings will be more expensive in 50 years?
Amedeo Modigliani: The man that cannot leave behind everything that is old and rotten is not a man, but a bourgeois. You suffer, you are right, but can't suffering serve to find yourself and to make your dream stronger than your desire?......always let your aesthetic needs prevail over your social obligations (“Amedeo Modigliani biography”). This is not only my own opinion, but this is how the majority of young people think in the beginning of the 20th century. This is just the era of innovations and the belief in the old values is lost forever. I have no practical attitude to life. I am a romantic. I am not sure someone needs my painting now. Therefore I am not sure at all that someone in future would like to buy them. If it happens…well it will mean to me nothing, will it? I will be already the part of the other world and will not know about it. Of course, every artist dreams of being popular and the recognition of his talent and skills. But I do not know, not sure… A successive artist is someone who is satisfied with his art, who likes his work. But does this mean being successive in the eyes of other people? I cannot answer that.

Pablo Picasso: I am a man of art, but I also have ambitions. When I was young nobody wanted to buy my paintings. However nowadays people know me and I sell my works. Of course, it is impossible to be a good painter if your intention is to make paintings for sell only. But we all hope that one day a millionaire enters our studio and pays fairly for what we do. Well, we can only hope. I consider myself to be rather successive. I do something other people pay for. That is a measure of success. But I also want people not to forget my works in at least a decade…Is it too bold to dream about it? I hope to live to those times when I am really famous…

Interviewer: Well, gentlemen, thank you very much for your sincere answers. We wish you new ideas, new sources of inspiration and new victories in your work. We wish you as many admirers as possible. Continue what you do and this will bring happiness to many people’s life.

Works cited:
“Amedeo Modigliani.” 10 Sep 2010
“Amedeo Modigliani biography.” Abstract paintings art. 10 Sep 2010
“Nude art from Modigliani.” Abstract paintings art. 10 Sep 2010
“Pablo Picasso Biography.” Bio. True story. 10 Sep 2010

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