Portrait of Leon Bakst.
Painting by Amedo Modigalini
Portrait of Leon Bakst
The Paris based Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani was much lauded for his gracefully distorted portraits. His fascination with African masks and sculpture is apparent in his sitter’s faces – almond eyes, twisted features that are flat and mask like and elongated forms. The influence of Toulose-Lautrec, Picasso and Cezanne can be seen in Modigliani’s curved lines, planes and spare composition.
Leon Bakst was born in Russia and spent most of his career in Paris. He co-found the ‘World of Art’ group in 1898. Till 1902, Bakst worked as a portraitist. Later he migrated to stage design. He is best known as the costume and set designer for Diaghiev’s Ballets Russes. While in Paris, he became a friend of Modigliani and being a contemporary artist, was one of his subjects for portrait.
The portrait is quite elegant and expressive. The eyes look curious. The pursed lips and masked face are characteristic of Modigliani’s style. The mustache is drawn quite naturally. Bakst is shown as wearing a typical dress reminding that he is a costume designer. The balled head with a few red hairs at the center and the expression on the face illustrate Modigliani’s unique skills of portraiture.
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