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Modigliani ‘portrait’ found in rubbish tip goes on display

A mysterious mouse-eaten portrait found on a Rome rubbish heap ten years ago and thought to be an original work by Amedeo Modigliani, an Italian Jewish artist who worked mainly in France, is set to go on display for the first time.

Modigliani 'portrait' found in rubbish tip goes on display
The work is perhaps by Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, who is one of the world's most valuable artists. Photo: Instituto Amedeo Modigliani

The picture, which shows a young woman, is thought by some to have been painted by Amedeo Modigliani and was salvaged from the rubbish tip by an avid 'skip diver', who now owns it, in the suburb of Rustica on the outskirts of Rome.

The salvaged portrait, entitled 'Odette', bore a large humidity stain and a hole which experts think was chewed by a passing rodent, but has been lovingly restored by Italy's Amedeo Modigliani Institute.

It will be on display at the Fesival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Umbria, from next Thursday.

“By putting the portrait on display we hope to encourage scholarly debate about its authenticity,” Franco Sensi, the institute's vice president, told The Local.

Until now, the portrait's authenticity has been fiercely contested with Modigliani experts in France – where the painter and sculptor lived and worked for much of his adult life – refusing to analyze the painting as they are convinced from photographs it is a forgery.


Photo: Instituto Amedeo Modigliani

“Not one single element of the work corresponds to Modigliani's craftsmanship. Neither the theme, the chromatic structure nor the choice of structure,” experts from a French Modigliani group wrote in a letter to the painting's owner.

But Italian experts say there is reason to believe the painting is original.

“Studies carried out in Milan have dated the materials to 1917-1918,” added Sensi.

“At that time Modigliani was practically unknown and his paintings worthless, so it's unlikely someone would have wasted the canvas and materials in producing a forgery, although it could have been produced by an admirer.”

“The figure is painted in his trademark style and the picture is signed by him,” Sensi added.

“We can't say it's definitely an original, but obviously the owner is very hopeful because Modigliani paintings are among the most valuable in the world.”

If scholars can agree on the painting's authenticity, it could net its owner millions.

Last November, a Modigliani portrait of a reclining nude sold for €154.6 million at auction – making it the most expensive work by an Italian artist in history and the seventh most expensive painting of all time.

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TOURISM

The new guide to Florence’s Uffizi Galleries – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Florence's world-famous galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

The new guide to Florence's Uffizi Galleries - showing only the nudes
Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" is the most famous work included in a controversial new guide to the Uffizi Galleries. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The online guide to the gallieries is produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

Part of the site’s Classic Nudes series of ‘erotic’ guides to some of the world’s most renowned museums, the guide for the Uffizi lists 21 artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and the location of each piece within the galleries.

“The Uffizi Gallery is located in the birthplace of the Renaissance: Florence, Italy. So it’s no wonder it has such a large collection of artwork from the era. But what you may find surprising is the sheer volume and variety of naked bodies rendered in paint, bronze and marble in this marvelous museum,” writes Pornhub.

Among the works featured are Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1485) and the Roman statue of the Knidian Aphrodite, dating from the 1st Century.

The guide also includes the Venus of Urbino by Titian (1538), which it calls “kinky”, and Painting and Poetry by Francesco Furini (1626), which is described as featuring “two ridiculously hot babes who just so happen to be making out”.

Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Bosses at the Uffizi were not amused at the gallery’s inclusion in Pornhub’s series and have threatened to sue.

Meanwhile in Paris, the Louvre’s management has said only that it is ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay remained silent on the subject.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

The Uffizi does, however, provide a great day out for all the family and contains a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present it is operating with reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.

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