Artist: Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, Livorno 1884–1920 Paris)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 23 7/8 x 36 1/2 in. (60.6 x 92.7 cm)
Credit Line: The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997
Accession Number: 1997.149.9
Modigliani’s celebrated series of reclining nudes, begun in 1916, are influenced by Italian Renaissance representations of Venus and other idealized female figures. In this painting from 1917, the model’s stylized, outlined body spans the entire canvas; viewed close-up and from above, her hands and feet disappear outside the frame as her creamy skin glows against the dark red bed or couch. Unlike depictions of Venus from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, in which mythological or allegorical attributes provide a context for the figure’s nudity, Modigliani provocatively presents his Reclining Nude without any such references, highlighting the figure’s eroticism.