This is yet another of the exquisite female portraits that Modigliani knew how to do, sometimes making full-length representations and on many occasions nude, while other times he painted them not only dressed, but giving a special role to women's clothing, as in this case of the Woman with the black tie that he painted in 1917.
Modigliani Woman in Black Tie
In some cases and others she is able to give faces incredible strength, capturing her physical features and also her psychology with a highly sensitive drawing line. And it is that as a general rule, in her painting, although color is important, the most emblematic element is the line, the synthetic and essential drawing, capable of defining but above all of suggesting. Something that can be seen in any of his oil canvases, and especially in his drawings, such as Woman lying on the bed.
In the case of the woman with this black tie, the element of her face that most attracts her attention is that she presents us with empty eyes, without pupils. For which scholars have given various explanations. On the one hand, some think that it is a symbol of melancholy, while others believe that it is a reference that is related to the passion that Amedeo Modigliani felt towards primitive art, masks and art of the Ancient Egypt who at that time camevisit constantly in the rooms of the Louvre Museum.
But besides that, the work is undeniably charming. It moves us slightly from the center to the protagonist, and we see her a little to the left despite the fact that her background is absolutely neutral. That trend is further marked by the subtle tilt of her head to that side.
And her face is a perfect oval and perfectly framed by the hair on her upper half. An elongation that is even more pronounced thanks to the wavy arabesque of the tie that appears in the title and gives personality to the figure, since that black line stands out enormously on the woman's white shirt. Although it is not a uniform white, she goes from the purest white to the grays, all with the aim of enhancing that tie, her black hair and of course her red face. A complexion shade that lends great presence to her brow lines, eyelids, huge empty eyes, delicate nose, and the crimson red of her lips.