Modigliani was born into a Jewish family in Livorno, Italy. When his father’s business failed, the family lived in crushing poverty. His mother Eugenia home-schooled Amedeo until he was 10 years old. He had severe health problems and struggled
to survive pleurisy more than once, and bouts of typhoid fever and tuberculosis. From an early age he was drawing and painting, so his mother arranged for him to study art in his hometown. He was doing well but forced to quit painting due to his tuberculosis.
After recovering he studied in Florence and Venice where he took up a full-blown bohemian lifestyle of drugs, drinking and sex. In 1906 he moved to Paris, to continue his lifestyle in Montmartre. Amadeo quickly spiraled into the life of an alcoholic and addict,
but he was prolific in his work. At times he was creating hundreds of pieces of arts in a day, but he would typically lose them, give them to women he was having sex with or leave them behind when he had to quickly change addresses. He met the first serious
love of his life, Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, in 1910, when he was 26. They had studios in the same building, and although 21-year-old Anna was recently married, they began an affair. Anna was tall (as Modigliani was only 5 foot 5 inches) with dark hair
(like Modigliani's), pale skin and grey-green eyes, she embodied Modigliani's aesthetic ideal and the pair became engrossed in each other. After a year, however, Anna returned to her husband. Sick and frail he returned to Livorno to recover, but the moment
his health improved he raced back to Paris. In the spring of 1917 he was introduced to a beautiful 19-year-old art student named Jeanne Hébuterne (1898 – 1920). From a conservative bourgeois background, Hébuterne was renounced
by her devout Roman Catholic family for her liaison with the painter, whom they saw as little more than a debauched derelict. Despite her family's objections, soon they were living together, and although Hébuterne was the current love of his life, their
public scenes became more renowned than Modigliani's individual drunken exhibitions. On 3 December 1917 Modigliani's had his first one-man exhibition. The chief of the Paris police was scandalized by Modigliani's nudes and forced him to close the exhibition
within a few hours after its opening. After he and Hébuterne moved to Nice, she became pregnant, and on November 29, 1918, gave birth to a daughter whom they named Jeanne (1918–1984). Although he continued to paint, Modigliani's health was deteriorating
rapidly, and his alcohol-induced blackouts became more frequent. In 1920, after not hearing from him for several days, his downstairs neighbour checked on the family and found Modigliani in bed delirious and holding onto Hébuterne, who was nearly nine
months pregnant. They summoned a doctor, but little could be done because Modigliani was in the final stage of his disease, dying of tubercular meningitis. Modigliani died on January 24, 1920. There was an enormous funeral, attended by many from the artistic
communities in Montmartre and Montparnasse. Hébuterne was taken to her parents' home, where, inconsolable, she threw herself out of a fifth-floor window, a day after Modigliani's death, killing herself and her unborn child. Modigliani was interred in
Père-Lachaise Cemetery. Hébuterne was buried at the Cimitière de Bagneux near Paris, and it was not until 1930 that her embittered family allowed her body to be moved to rest beside Modigliani. A single tombstone honors them both.
His epitaph reads: ‘Struck down by Death at the moment of glory’. Hers reads: ‘Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice.’ Modigliani, managing only one solo exhibition in his life and giving his work away in exchange for
meals in restaurants, died penniless and destitute.