La Jeune bonne (The Servant Girl), ca. 1918
Oil on canvas
60 x 24 inches (152.4 x 61 cm)
Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1939
Amedeo Modigliani's painting style is very distinctive. Settings are sparse, and figures can be recognized by their elongated necks, oval heads, graceful body lines, and seemingly blank eyes.
The title of this painting identifies the woman as a servant, and everything about the composition underscores that role. She wears a dark dress with a white collar, plain shoes, and modest hair style, and stands quietly in a corner with her head bowed and hands folded as if waiting patiently for instructions.
In spite of her social status, however, there is a certain dignity to the young woman, which Modigliani achieved through the use of color and line to unify the composition. The curved lines and repeated oval shapes create a gentle rhythm that gives the figure a certain softness and grace. The colors are also subtly expressive, with blues and grays accented by the white of the collar, the red of the floor, and the golden glow of her skin.
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