Sunday, 31 July 2011

William Ewart Gladstone and Alfred Morgan

An Omnibus Ride to Piccadilly Circus,
Mr Gladstone Travelling with Ordinary Passengers
by Alfred Morgan

William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) was British Prime Minister on four occasions as well as the country’s oldest serving prime minister at 84 years old. During his various ministries he introduced the secret ballot into the British electoral system, oversaw the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, and in 1886 tried unsuccessfully to pass a bill through parliament to allow devolution or Irish Home Rule. He was known by the appellation G.O.M., which stood for ‘Grand Old Man’ to his friends and supporters, and ‘God’s Only Mistake’ to his lifelong rival Benjamin Disraeli. Gladstone is also remembered for the bag that bears his name and for using the longest word in a British parliamentary debate: antidisestablishmentarianism.

Alfred Morgan (1862-1904) was an English painter. His extensive range of subjects included portraits, flowers, animals and landscapes, as well as historical and biblical scenes. In 1885 he completed a portrait of William Ewart Gladstone in a work entitled ‘An Omnibus Ride to Piccadilly Circus, Mr Gladstone Travelling with Ordinary Passengers’. The ‘ordinary passengers’, in fact, were the artist himself and his wife and children.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Théâtre Antique, Orange

Antique Theatre, Orange
"Have you ever drunk your weight in red wine in a restaurant while waiting for your meal to be served, staggered back to your hotel, fallen down in the shower while fully clothed, and spent the night lying in a crumpled heap on the floor in dripping wet clothes and a pool of sick and vomit?"
I posed the question to a fellow traveller who thought I looked a bit hung-over as we waited on the platform of Orange railway station in Provence.
"I haven't", he replied, "and I don't know anyone who has, either".
"It must just be me, then", I said.

It all happened too many years ago to recall, but I still have the leaflet from my visit to the town's Antique Theatre, the main tourist attraction. That's it above, a bit moth eaten, like its possessor, but still in one piece. The weather that day was superb, I still remember it, but the omens weren't good. I'd had an altercation with a French bureaucratic bank clerk while cashing some travellers cheques, but was in good shape notwithstanding and looking forward to doing some exploring.

Orange is situated in the Vaucluse region of Provence and is home to many well-preserved Roman monuments. According to legend, the valiant Guillaume au Court, nephew of Charlemagne, became its first Dream Lord, and his short nose is represented as a horn on the town's coat of arms, above three oranges. But it is self-evidently a legend, since I've travelled widely in France, and have yet to see a Frenchman with a short nose.

Roman Victory Arch
at Orange
I entered the town proper through the Roman Arc de Triomphe, built by the Emperor Constantine to the glory of Rome. It was constructed on the site of the battlefield of Aygue (105 B.C.) in order to efface the defeat and the ignominy inflicted on the Roman army by the Cimbri and the Teutons.

Orange is a small place and it didn't take long to track down the Antique Theatre. I thought it would be throbbing with tourists, but apart from a couple of teenagers billing and cooing on the terrace, the place was deserted. I stepped over the turtle doves and found somewhere to sit.

The monument dates from the first century A.D. and is the only Roman theatre that still has its stage wall. Gosh! The outer wall measures 103 metres in length and 37 metres in height. There are 16 bays at the ground level, of which four are for the use of the performers. It is still a working theatre in the summer months of July and August when it is a meeting place for artists and music lovers from around the world.

I spent about 30 minutes in the theatre and then made my way to the exit. Romeo and Juliet had passed the billing and cooing stage and were now into heavy petting. Another few minutes and he would be sending the colonel in, so I felt it was a good time to leave. Besides, it was already mid-afternoon and I hadn't eaten since breakfast.

It is at this point in the narrative that things started to go pear shaped. I found a pleasant restaurant but they had finished serving for the day. However, the waitress/chef/owner said that she could prepare a dish for me if I was prepared to wait. So I ordered a carafe of the house red, and then another. By the time the meal arrived (probably about an hour later) I had consumed the second carafe and ordered a third. An hour after that (or possibly two) I stumbled out of the restaurant and found myself in the main square.

Place Clémenceau 
I say the main square, for in fact there are two, and I have no idea to this day which one of the two it was that I was falling down in. But it was either Place Clémenceau, on which the Hôtel de Ville is situated, and whose facade was modified and re-sculptured by Charpentier de Boliène in 1880, and whose bell tower was erected in 1715 and which houses three bells of which one from 1442 (Gosh again!); or Place de la République, with its fountain, trees and flower market. I somehow made it back to my hotel and up to my room, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The next morning it was pouring with rain and in addition the French rail workers were having a 'day of action', which is what they call 24 hours when they don't do anything. I wanted to get to Lyon where a friend was meeting me at the station. Finally a train arrived. It was crowded and I couldn't find a seat. So I went to the buffet coach where a young French woman was sitting with a BBC publication Advanced English Conversations. I struck up a conversation with her and she was able to practice her new skills as the train sped up the Rhône valley through the torrential rain.

Them were the days!

Isle of Skye - the magic island

Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye

The sun, his golden helmet shimmering in his brow, has scaled the walls of the glittering east, and now, proud and majestic, hangs like a pendant in the welkin’s eye.”

So said a passenger (or words to that effect) as our ferry cast off its mooring in Mallaig and headed for the open sea and the short journey to the mystical isle of Skye.

“Not many people aboard”, the passenger added. “A lot less than I would have thought”.
“A lot fewer”, I corrected him.

I thought he was going to hit me, but he just walked away. I looked at a forlorn looking lady sitting in a corner. An unstamped letter, I thought, lost and abandoned in life’s sorting office.

We were quite a collection.

Skye is the home of the MacDonalds, most famously Flora MacDonald, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape the isle after the failed Jacobin revolt.  

“Och, wee Charlie, hoots mon, dinnae tarry, will yu get yur wee backside i’yon boatie, mon?”

The journey over we clambered on a bus for Portree.
“You married?” the passenger asked me.
“She left me”, I told him. “Said I never listened to anything she said. At least I think she did.”
“People have been hung for less”, he replied.
Hanged for less”, I corrected him, and thought this time he will hit me.

I got off at Broadford, bid goodbye to the passenger and wished him a long, prosperous and happy life (no I didn’t, why lie about it?) and headed for my hotel.

Broadford was small, a wee place, with a population of around 600 hardy souls some of whom still spoke Gaelic. But it was highly picturesque, the air was commendably breathable, and all around were panoramic views of the sea, the mountains, and still more mountains on the Scottish mainland in the distance.

I clambered up nearby Red Hill, and then went to a pub where I ran into two UFO-spotting Londoners who will remain nameless but whom I shall call Bill and Ben.

“Each man is his own divinity”, Ben told me. “All life is contained in a single grain of sand”.
“Macrocosm as microcosm”, said Bill.
“Ah, but you’re probably thinking: a grain of sand is composed of atoms and that 99% of an atom is vacuum”, said Ben.
“But what you don’t know”, said Bill, “is that every moment of every day billions of negative elements pass through the atoms of the brain and come out the other side”.
“And as they pass through they deposit information precasting the future”, said Ben.
“Short-circuiting the synaptic junctions between brain cells and planting cosmic information directly into the neurophysiology of the host”, said Bill.
“And they’re being used by the Saucer People”, said Ben, then added: “Because they’re all around us, you know, the Saucer People”.
“And they can travel great distances in their speed-of-light space craft”, said Bill.
“And even through time portals”, added Ben.
“They’ve got Anti-natal Clinics for Pregnant Computers”, said Bill.
“Cosmic Gymnasiums for Keep Fit Time Travellers”, said Ben.
“Technologies we could never dream up in a million years”, said Bill.
“I once dreamed up the name Zip Timmermims”, I said.

Bill looked at me, then at Ben. 
“Is he having a laugh?” he said.
Ben looked at me.
“Are you having a laugh, pal?” he asked me.
I looked at Ben, then at Bill, and tried to decide which one would hit me first.

The next day I hired a bike and pedalled to Loch Slapin which Bill Brandt had visited in 1948. The great photographer took many pictures around the island, most notably the gull’s nest. He died on my birthday in 1983, so maybe there was something to Bill and Ben’s macrocosm-microcosm theory after all.

Later on I went to Lord Macdonald’s Forest, tried (unsuccessfully) to see a golden eagle, and two days later was back on the bus for the ferry to Mallaig.

On the boat I was standing aft watching the sun setting over the island, when a man in a kilt came and stood next to me. We watched Skye as it drifted into the distance, and then he said to me: “It’s a magic place, all right”.
“It is”, I agreed.
“I come here every year”, he said.
“Is that right?” I said.
“Every year”, he said.
“Gosh”, I said.

The sun finally set, casting red and yellow and orange streaks across the night sky.

“So will you ever go back?” he asked me.
“Oh yes”, I said, “I’m sure I will”.
“I’m sure I shall”, he corrected me.

I hit him.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

La Promenade des Anglais, Nice by Raoul Dufy

The French artist Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) painted colourful, cheerful pictures of the French Riviera including the Midi's most beautiful avenue, the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. Some of his paintings are on display in Nice's Fine Arts Museum. The artist is buried in Nice in a grave close to that of his fellow fauvist Henri Matisse. Here are some of his depictions of the la Prom and the Bay of Angels....

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Double Dutch with a Dutchman, or The Mystery of the Missing Euro.

Luncheon of the Boating Party
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Travelling once on a train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam I recounted the following riddle to a Dutchman….

Three men have a meal in a restaurant (more of a snack, actually, a cheese sandwich and a milk shake) and the bill comes to 30 euros. Each man gives the waiter 10 euros and the waiter takes the money to the head waiter. But the head waiter notices that the bill should only be 25 euros. So he gives the waiter back 5 euros and tells him to return the money to the men. But on his way to the table the waiter thinks to himself: “Hang fire a minute. They don’t know that the bill was only 25 euros. I think I’ll just give them back 3 euros and keep 2 euros for myself”. So he slips 2 euros into his back pocket and gives 3 euros back to the men, 1 euro to each. Therefore…

Question: How much did each man pay for his meal?
Answer: 9 euros.
Question: 3 times 9 euros equals…?
Answer: 27 euros.
Question: How much did waiter slip into his back pocket?
Answer: 2 euros.
Question: 27 euros plus 2 euros equals…?
Answer: 29 euros.
Question: But the men gave the waiter 30 euros. So where’s the other euro?

The Dutchman thought about it for several moments and then said: “I give up. Where is this other bloody euro?”
I smiled an inscrutable English smile (forget the Chinese, if it’s inscrutable you want there’s no one to touch the English) and left him to ponder The Mystery of the Missing Euro.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Louis-Ferdinand Céline : grand écrivain français

-- Vous vous dites en somme chroniquer?-- Ni plus ni moins!...
                                                       [Nord L-F Céline]

Pour avoir un tableau complet d’un homme il faut tout considérer, ses contradictions aussi, une tâche formidable lorsqu’il s’agit de l’écrivain français Louis-Ferdinand Céline, homme à la fois de droite et de gauche, pacifiste qui s’est engagé volontairement à deux réprises, et philosphe et pamphlétaire sans aucun message à déliverer.

Céline est devenu célèbre en 1932, l’année de la publication de son premier roman Voyage au bout de la nuit. A travers une langue virulente et plein de colère il raconte les aventures de son héros, un nommé Ferdinand Bardamu, de 1914 jusqu’au début des années 1930. A mesure que son voyage avance, d’abord à la guerre, qu’il considère une «vaste universelle moquerie», puis à la colonie de la Bambola-Bragamance, où il observe le fonctionnement pervers de l’administration coloniale, ensuite aux États-Unis, le royaume du roi Dollar, et enfin à Paris où il poursuit son métier de médecin dans la banlieue pauvre, Bardamu commence à se dégôuter des hommes, de leurs niaiseries et de leur monde. Il devient anarchiste, pacifise, pessimiste et misanthrope. Céline aussi, car il s’agit d’un roman autobiographique.

Dès le début le «Voyage» a connu un succès considerable, et Céline, en raison de sa diatribe contre la guerre «imperialiste», et sa dénonciation de la vie coloniale, est devenu l’enfant cheri de la gauche. Mais la liaison fut de courte durée et fut rompue irrévocablement  à la suite de la parution du pamphlet de Céline «Mea Culpa», écrit après une visite de l'écravain à l'Union sovietique en 1936, et dans lequel il dénonce le communisme soviétique, constatant que l'âme communiste ne s'exprimait nulle part en U.r.s.s.

L’immédiat avant-guerre a vu un autre aspect du caractère de Céline, celui de Céline l’antisémite. Et pendant l’occupation il a resté à Paris et même collaboré. Donc, à la libération, craignant pour sa vie, il passa en Allemagne et ensuite au Danemark. 

En 1950 il fut jugé par contumace par la Cours de Justice de Paris, les accusations visant des «actes de nature à nuire à la sûreté de l’État». Le verdict fut annoncé en février 1950 : 50 000 francs d’amende, confiscation des biens, un an de prison, et indignité à vie. Céline, qui resta au Danemark pendant le procès, fut amnisté en 1951 quand il retrouva la France.

Le 1er juillet 1961 Céline mourut d’une congestion cérébrale. Les années depuis sa mort ont vu la réhabilitation de sa réputation en tant que novateur littéraire, et malgré toutes ses déclarations politiques et sociales, on doit admettre qu’il y a du vrai dans sa déclaration d’être «Homme à style et non à idées».

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Place de Clichy, Paris

Place de Clichy, around 1930

I first heard the name of the Place de Clichy, or simply the Place Clichy, in Louis-Ferdinand Céline's celebrated novel of 1932, Journey to the End of the Night, which begins on the square in 1914, just before the outbreak of the First World War.

Ferdinand Bardamu, the novel's hero, is sitting in a café with fellow medical student, Arthur, discussing President Poincaré, who is due to inaugurate a dog show. (The French presidency in the Third Republic was almost entirely ceremonial.) Arthur calls Ferdinand an anarchist, and Ferdinand responds by reciting a poem he has written, 'a kind of prayer of social vengeance'. They discuss the unsuspecting war slowly creeping up on them, and Arthur declares that if his country asks him to shed his blood then his is ready to do so. Ferdinand is less enthusiastic, but when a regiment comes marching past rounding up recruits, it is Ferdinand and not Arthur that joins the procession. They march on to the cheers of the crowds bombarding them with flowers. Ferdinand has never seen so many patriots in all his life! But then it starts to rain, and the patriots begin one by one to drift away. Ferdinand wants to drift away, too, but has left it too late. They reach the barracks, the gate is shut behind them, and he's trapped - like a rat!

The square is a hub and a meeting point of Boulevard des Batignolles, Avenue de Clichy, Rue Caulaincourt, Rue de Clichy, Rue d'Amsterdam and Rue de Saint-Petersbourg. At its centre stands the statue of Marshall Moncey (1754-1842). On 8 January 1814 Moncey was made Major General of the Paris National Guard, and on 30 March 1814 fought heroically at the Clichy gates in the defence of Paris against the Allies. For an entire day, although ten times outnumbered, he fought back the assaults made by Russian forces. While many other of Napoleon's marshals betrayed their emperor during this period leading up to Napoleon's first abdication, Moncey remained loyal throughout, and indeed was the last to fight at the Clichy barrier.

In 1899 nearby Rue Caulaincourt became the location of the Gaumont Palace cinema, which could seat 6,000 spectators and was billed as the largest cinema in the world. It was an attraction until 1973 by which time it had seen its day and was demolished. Also nearby is Parc Monceau, one of the most beautiful parks in Europe. And the Place Clichy is now the home of many hotels and restaurants, as well as being one of the liveliest intersections of La Ville-Lumière, the City of Light.

La Place Clichy by Eugène Galien-Laloue

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Sink me! It's Lyon! (& including grape picking and cuisine lyonnaise)

Lyon in 1844
As a teenager I shall never forget seeing an explorer on a TV chat show. He sat on a couch, wearing a bush hat and safari jacket, saying "Sink me!" at any and every moment, while delighting the studio audience with the witty and sparkling accounts of his daring-do adventures. Whether in the desert wastes of the Sahara, the icy wastes of the Arctic, the remote mountains of Peru and the malarial jungles of Borneo, doing battle with severe heat and extreme cold, with crocodiles and alligators, with poisonous snakes and spiders, he emerged from it all with a "Sink me!" and a smile on his suntanned, handsome face.

I was so impressed that there and then I made a solemn vow to myself that one day I too would become an famous explorer, and it is a vow I would have kept but for one thing - I just couldn't find a decent safari jacket anywhere! So I 
thought instead of wearing my grandfather's old shooting jacket and knee-breeches with matching stockings, and perhaps a William Tell hat for headgear, which would have made me very fetching as I paddled up the Oronoco in my hollowed-out canoe. But one thing troubled me: Were knee-breeches and a William Tell hat what your intrepid explorer was wearing that season? I wrestled with the dilemma for some time, but as I've never been a quitter - no, that won't work, let me rephrase that - but as I've always been a quitter, it took no effort for me to arrive at the bold and courageous decision to ditch the whole idea, solemn vow and all, and go grape picking instead.

The grapes I went to pick were in Beaujolais, in a vineyard that a French friend from the region had recommended. The vineyard had showers for the pickers, which was almost unique at that time (apparently), and so I duly set off for two weeks in the warm October sunshine. Or so I thought, for in fact it rained the entire time, torrential rain at times, not in the least le canicule that I expected. So I quit after one week, got my money, and  together with another picker, went to explore the inner reaches of nearby Lyon.

Basilica of Notre Dame
de Fourvière
The rain came with us but the city was agreeable all the same. It is France's second city and part of the Rhône-Alpes agglomeration with the nearby city of Grenoble, an important centre for the production of hydroelectricity. It has two rivers (this is Lyon), the  Rhône and the Saône, which converge at the south of Vieux Lyon, the historic centre of the city. To the west is Fourvière, 'the hill that prays', and at its summit the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière, from the top of which it is said that on a clear day one can see Mont Blanc.

The city was the scene of a Hugenots massacre on St. Bartholomew's Day in 1572, and in 1793, during the French Revolution, was under siege for two months by the Revolutionary Army following its uprising against the National Convention. In more recent times it was an important centre of resistance during the Second World War, and in still more recent times it is where I was the day that Jean-Paul Satre died. Lyon, too, is the headquarters of Interpol, and the city is also famed for its cuisine. Once, while trying to impress a French friend who came from Lyon, I told her that la cuisine lyonnaise was the finest in France, and she indignantly replied: "Not France - the world!"

It stopped raining after we'd been there a couple of days, and I was able to enjoy the wonderful square, la Place Bellecour, and wander aimlessly by the rivers. Later that year I bought a bottle of the first nouveau, which could have been made from grapes that I trod on. It had a musky taste. Maybe I should have taken my socks off first!

Place Bellecour, Lyon at night

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Protestant Cemetery - 'the holiest place in Rome'

"It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place".                         Percy Bysshe Shelley

The Protestant Cemetery in Rome, or more accurately the Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Testaccio, Rome (il Cimitero acattolico di Roma), is located near to the Aurelian Walls, the defensive structure constructed by the Emperor Aurelian in the third century AD to protect Rome from the barbarian hordes; and to the pyramid of Caius Cestius, dating from between 18 and 12 BC. It is close to the Porta San Paolo, the best preserved of the gates of the Aurelian Walls.

The pyramid viewed from the cemetery
with Porta San Paolo to the left
The cemetery came into existence from a need to create a burial place for non-Catholics in Rome, who, under the ecclesiastical laws of the Catholic Church, were not permitted to be buried in the consecrated grounds of Catholic churches. It began to be used around 1730, when it became known as the English Cemetery because of the large number of English people buried there, the first of which was a young Oxford student by the name of Langton.

The most famous tombs, and far the most visited, are those of Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. Shelly was drowned off the coast of Livorno in 1822 and his body cremated on the beach near Viareggio in compliance with quarantine regulations. The ashes were later interred in the Protestant Cemetery. Keats died in Rome on the 23 February 1821 and three days later the funeral took place before daybreak as required by the law. He made a wish that his epitaph should bear the stark words: 'Here lies one whose name was writ in water'. But his friend Charles Brown was having none of that, and insisted on adding words linking his death to 'the Malicious Power of his Enemies'.

The grave of John Keats (left) in the Protestant Cemetery next to that of his friend Joseph Severn who journeyed with him to Rome
In the shadow of the pyramid, among cyprus, pine, myrtle and bay trees, the Protestant Cemetery in Rome is a place of peaceful repose and is the final resting place of around 4000 souls, of which three-quarters Europeans (mainly British and German) and one-quarter North American. Oscar Wilde called it 'the holiest place in Rome'.

Colline du Chatêau, Nice

City of Nice with the Colline du Chatêau at the summit in this image from 1691

La Colline du Chatêau, or Castle Hill, is one of the main visitor attractions of Nice on the Côte d’Azur.  It was a military fortification from the 11th to the 18th century, and was the last bastion in the siege of Nice in 1705 by King Louis XIV of France.  After several weeks of siege the town surrendered, but the castle held out until it was reduced to rubble by 113 canons and mortars.  The king ordered that what remained of the bastion be destroyed by explosives, so that nothing of the original structure is now in place. 

Access to the summit is by a lift inside the cliff face; by the tourist train (le petit train); or by a hard slog on foot. But once there you can enjoy a landscaped garden where the castle once stood; panoramic views over the old town and the Cours Saleya with its celebrated flower market;  expansive views of the equally celebrated Promenade des Anglais and the Bay of Angels; and gaze down on the busy port with its luxury yachts and watch the yellow ferries weighing anchor for Corsica.

La Colline du Chatêau was at second place in the Lonely Planet list of '212 things to do in in Nice', while at No. 1 was the Cours Saleya and at No. 4 the fine arts museum with its definitely not-to-be-missed paintings of Nice by Raoul Dufy.

Looking down from the Colline over the old town of Nice

The port of Nice seen from the summit
of the hill

The broad sweep of the Promenade
des Anglais and the Bay of Angels

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Cours Saleya, Nice

Cours Saleya in 1890
The Cours Saleya is the main pedestrian thoroughfare in the old town of Nice and the location of one of the main tourist attractions of the city - le Marché aux fleurs (the Flower Market).

The space was originally known as la Marina, then, from 1714, the term Palco was used. The name Cours was first used during the Napoleonic era, and it adopted its present name of le Cours Saleya at the beginning of the 20th Century. Wikepedia France

The Cours runs parallel to the Quai des États-Unis and the bay, and is overlooked by the Colline du Château (Castle Hill) the ancient fortification which dominates the old town.

Cours Saleya to the left as seen from Castle Hill
In 1839, in one of the houses in the Cours, a literary salon was established by one Benoit Visconti, and for more than 50 years it remained an important point of reference for art and literature lovers around the world. It became a place at which the devotees wanted to be seen. Other attractions at the Visconti residence were musical concerts and illuminated noctural festivals. Wikepedia France

In 1861 the municipality created in the Cours a market for fruit and vegetables which was later expanded to include flowers. In the 1980s the market was fully pedestrianised, and is now the home, not only to the Flower Market, but t0 an antiques market, numerous cafés and restaurants, as well as one of the few authentic Irish pubs on the coast: Ma Nolans Irish Bar. And it was rated No. 1 of 212 things to do in Nice and No. 4 of 5,519 places to shop in Europe by Lonely Planet.

A tranquil spot for strollers and shoppers

View across the market to the Colline

Monday, 4 July 2011

Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920)

Nude on a Blue Cushion (1917)

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was born in Livorno (Italy) in 1884 and died in Paris in 1920 at the age of 35.

At the age of 14, sick with typhoid and in a delirium, he raved that he wanted to visit the famous art galleries of Florence. On his recovery his mother fulfilled a promise to take him there, and on their return to Livorno enrolled him with Guglielmo Micheli, one of the leading painting masters in the city. He studied landscape painting, portraiture and still life, and also the nude, his particular favourite. Fellow students said that when not painting young women he was pursuing them. He also won the sobriquet from his teacher of Superman. 

He was a dedicated and promising student, but after two years (1898-1900) his studies were brought to a premature halt when he became sick with the onset of tuberculosis. 

In 1902-1903 he studied in Florence and then in Venice, where he began to smoke hashish and spend time in the less reputable parts of the city. Then in 1906 he moved to Paris, where he underwent a gradual transformation from elegant and spruce to unkempt and shabby. But his output was prodigious with literally a hundred drawings in a single day. He also worked entirely in the studio, having rejected outdoor painting at an earlier stage.

In Paris he was influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec and later by Cézanne. He used alcohol and drugs in an attempt perhaps to conceal his tuberculosis from his new friends. When drunk he was known to strip naked at social functions. And he had numerous affairs, most notably with  a recently married Russian poet and translator Anna Akhmatova. And in 1917 he met French artist Jeanne Hébuterne (1898-1920), who became his common law wife. She gave birth to a daughter, and was pregnant when Mogliani died on 24 January 1920. The next day, in a distraught state, she threw herself from a fifth-floor apartment, killing herself and her unborn child.

Mogliani died of tubercular meningitis and was buried in Père Lachaise in Paris. His epitaph reads: Struck down by Death at the moment of Glory. Penniless at his death, since then his reputation has soared, until in 2010 one of his nudes was sold at auction for $68.9. His life has proved irresistible to publishers and film makers, and his daughter Jeanne (1918-1984) wrote his biography Mogliani: Man and Myth.

Portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne (1918)

Portrait of Modigliani (1919)
Jeanne Hébuterne
Bride and Groom (1915)