Caryatid Seated on Plinth with Lighted Candles  c.1911



Black crayon, 16 ¾ x 10 ¼ inches; 42.7 x 26 cms                                                                                   

Stamped with the Paul Alexandre collection mark.                                                                                   



Provenance:      Dr Paul Alexandre, Paris, to whom it was given by Modigliani.

                          By descent to the present owner.


Reproduced:      The Unknown Modigliani, Noël Alexandre,  - Page 202 [No. 113]. 

                          Published Fonds Mercator, 1993.



The above book, written by Paul Alexandre’s youngest son Noël, is dedicated:


To my friend Richard Nathanson whose enthusiasm and artistic sensibility have encouraged me to publish this account.


Exhibited:       Modigliani Drawings from The Collection of Paul Alexandre at:


                         Venice,     Palazzo Grassi, September 1993 - January 1994.

                         London,    The Royal Academy, January – April 1994

                         Tokyo,      Ueno Royal Museum, October - December 1994.

                         Montréal,  Museum of Fine Art, February - April 1996.  

                         Rouen,      Musée des Beaux Arts, July - October 1996.





 Buddha Seated in Meditation, Thailand 18th century                                                  




Modigliani’s admiration for the serene beauty and quiet strength of the Buddha figures seated in meditation is evident in this gently erotic, otherworldly drawing.


Parmigianino’s ‘Madonna with the Long Neck’, with its tender, downward gaze, is also present in this drawing.







The caryatid was a supporting feature in classical Greek architecture [see caryatid figure in the Parthenon].


Thinking perhaps of the Greek god ‘Atlas’ condemned to support the sky on his back, Modigliani may have created his own symbolic caryatid to save the world with its beauty – believing, as did Dostoyevsky and Keats, that only ‘Beauty’ could save the world.






The sculptor Jacob Epstein remembers seeing Modigliani’s studio filled with nine or ten long heads and one figure. ‘At night’, Epstein recalled, ‘he would place candles on the top of each one and the effect was that of a primitive temple.’ According to his dealer, Paul Guillaume, Modigliani dreamt of creating a temple to mankind - which his work, taken as a whole, achieved in a miraculous way.





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