The Arts Society Salisbury discussed Amadeo Modigliani and the influences of the artistic community of bohemian Montmartre, including Cezanne and Picasso, at its latest meeting. 

The group met on November 14 and heard a talk from Julian Halsby on Bohemianism, a lifestyle choice in the early 20th century.


Bohemianism, which comes from the 19th-century word for gypsy, was a rejection of 19th-century materialism with transient poverty seen by the young as a virtue.

By contrast, Modigliani loved luxury and as soon as he made any money, he would spend it on clothes or his friends.

Modigliani was born in Lavorno in 1884 and died aged only 34 from tubercular meningitis.

Although the family had been successful, the business failed. His father was penniless and his mother spoiled him and he lacked self-discipline. 

As a child he was always painting and as he grew older was mostly self-taught by studying Renaissance art in museums. His ambition was to be a sculptor but the dust aggravated his condition. The early influence of Renaissance paintings can be seen echoed in his portraits.

Today, his paintings are sold for vast sums; in recent years one went for $170m, selling for more than a Picasso or Matisse.

The next lecture on December 12 will be on the Painters of the Cirque Medrano.

Paul Chapman will look at how the Cirque Medrano was an integral part of Parisian cultural life. All lectures are at St Francis Church, Beatrice Road, Salisbury and start at 1.50pm.

For more information visit or call 01722 331216.