Session Time: 1:45pm-3:15pm
Location: Hall 3FG
Objective: To confirm that Jeanne Hebuterne, Modigliani’s muse, suffered from cervical dystonia
Background: Amedeo Modigliani was one of the most outstanding painters of the XX century. He was born in Livorno, Italy in 1884, and died of tuberculous meningitis at the age of 35 in Paris (Ireson and Fraquelli, 2017; Ksystof, 2017). He had a very personal style, characterized by the lengthening of faces and figures. Although not well received in life, he gained great acceptance later (Ireson and Fraquelli, 2017; Ksystof, 2017). Modigliani met Jeane Hebuterne in 1917, and she became the principal subject of his art. She was also a painter herself, and was deeply in love with Modigliani. She could not overcome Modigliani’s dead and committed suicide just two days after; she was pregnant of their second child. Recently we suggested that Modigliani’s “Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne in a large hat” was an example of sensory trick for cervical dystonia (Garcia Ruiz et al., 2015). Now we have found evidence to confirm that this lady, common-law wife, and muse of the painter had cervical dystonia.
Methods: We searched for photographs of Jeanne Hebuterne that could corroborate that she had cervical dystonia.
Results: In several Modigliani’s paintings, Jeanne shows unequivocal signs of cervical dystonia at rest, with two typical sensory tricks: touching her chin with a finger or with her arm around her neck. However, these findings become more relevant when we review Jaenne’s photographs, in which evident signs of cervical dystonia (a lateral shift, with right laterocollis and left torticaput) can be easily appreciated. Modigliani possessed a masterful ability to capture the essence of its models, those who posed for him said that it was as if they had stripped his soul, but also to observe and describe reality precisely as shown in these paintings. These paintings are of an exceptional expressiveness and beauty, and show precise descriptions of cervical dystonia and sensory tricks.
Conclusions: We have found photographs of Jeanne Hebuterne that show that she actually suffered from cervical dystonia.
References: Garcia-Ruiz PJ, Slawek J, Sitek EJ, Martinez Castrillo JC. Art and dystonia. J Neurol Sci 2015; 356: 49-54. Ireson N, Fraquelli S. Modigliani. New York: Rizzoli Intl Pubn; 2017. ISBN 978-0847861132 Krystof D. Modigliani. Köln: Taschen; 2017. ISBN 978-3836503679.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:J.C. Martinez Castrillo, A. Alonso Canovas, P.J. Garcia. Cervical dystonia in Modigliani’s paintings: The clue was the sensory trick [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2018; 33 (suppl 2). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/cervical-dystonia-in-modiglianis-paintings-the-clue-was-the-sensory-trick/. Accessed December 2, 2023.
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MDS Abstracts - https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/cervical-dystonia-in-modiglianis-paintings-the-clue-was-the-sensory-trick/