“Like many of his peers,” writes Jenny Uglow in the NYR Daily, “Modigliani looked further afield, becoming fascinated by primitivism, African masks, Egyptian statues, and the ‘Khmer’ Buddhas of Cambodia. Encouraged by Brancusi, he turned back to an early love, sculpture, carving directly from the limestone and sandstone blocks that lay scattered around Paris building sites. Seven of his stone heads, with their elongated, simplified form, appeared among the Cubist paintings at the Salon d’Automne in 1912. The selection of sculpted heads at the Tate—monumental, graceful, eerily calm—are balanced by his drawings of caryatids, exploring the poetics of strength, the body as architecture, or, as he put it ‘columns of tenderness.’ In the concurrent exhibition ‘Modigliani Unmasked,’ at the Jewish Museum in New York, an array of caryatid sketches are accompanied by stylized drawings of heads whose facial geometry seems almost obsessively serene, an unobtainable ideal.”
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