Sunday, August 17, 2014

Celebrating a Prank

In 1909 Amedeo Modigliani was briefly back in Livorno from Paris to try himself as a sculptor: an old local legend says that his first tentative works were so disparaged by his artist friends that, in a bout of rage, he threw a cartload of sculpted stones in the nearby Fosso Reale.
Fake Modigliani's heads, Fortezza Vecchia, Livorno
Thirty years ago the usual brilliant minds decided to check if the legend was true dredging the part of the canal nearer to Modigliani's studio, with the hope of recovering some of his “lost” works.
Modì 1, Fortezza Vecchia, Livorno
After a few uneventful days, they found not one, but three “heads” and the story went around the world. Art historians and critics flocked to validate the artifacts which were also put on display in an exhibition.
Modì 2, Fortezza Vecchia, Livorno
We all know now, and many already knew then, that the “heads” were all fakes: one made by three young students and the others by an artist-dockworker. The world laughed, but the brilliant minds kept denying the evidence for a long time.
Modì 3, Fortezza Vecchia, Livorno
In the 30th anniversary of the events a new generation of brilliant minds decided to waste a few tens of thousands of Euro in an exhibition about the prank, one of the many misguided ways to attract the interest of the tourists. By the way, I liked the displays and it was one of the very few occasions to get inside the Fortezza Vecchia without a reservation.

See also: Modigliani's Heads - Modì's Heads - Fortezza Vecchia
Search labels: Modigliani - Fortezza Vecchia
External links: Three Students and a Dockworker Put Their Heads Together and Confound the Art World (People)

12 comments:

Revrunner said...

I'd feel the same way about my sculptures, too. :-)

Lowell said...

That's a very funny story. Sometimes we can be quite gullible when we really want to believe!

William Kendall said...

This is the first I've heard of that story!

Jack said...

VP, isn't it time for you to confess that one of those carved stones was yours?

Randy said...

I would love to have one in my garden.

Taken For Granted said...

Thanks for a great post with the story of these three carvings. We can laugh and get over it.

Dina said...

What a story! I quite like those faces.
Glad you got into the Fortezza easily.

Birdman said...

Even brillance sometimes needs to fall into shadows.

Luis Gomez said...

Great post VP. Thank you.

Halcyon said...

I have never heard of this story. You have to give those people a little credit though, what an ingenious prank!

Stefan Jansson said...

Ha, great stunt.

Karl Demetz said...

I remember this story :-)