Modigliani worked almost exclusively with the human figure and is particularly well known for his portraits. When he painted this picture his characteristic style of rendering figures was fully formed. The girl is portrayed from the front, and the planes have a geometric order that creates a sense of calm and harmony. African masks and medieval art were important sources of inspiration for Modigliani’s painting. On that basis he developed an idiom made up of simplified, elongated shapes, accentuated here by the tall, narrow format.
Modigliani moved from Italy to Paris in 1906, and in 1908-09 he settled in Montparnasse, where he became part of the international artists’ scene. His eccentric lifestyle and early death has contributed greatly to the myth of the bohemian Paris art scene.