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Modigliani made more than seventy drawings of caryatids, as preparatory sketches for sculptures. He is said to have conceived of a ‘temple to humanity’ surrounded by hundreds of such caryatids. The drawings include a distinct group in which the figure bears a vase. This detail literally suggests springs and may, more poetically, allude to sources of inspiration. Modigliani used watercolour to emphasise his highly stylised and rhythmic construction of the body, offering a view of female beauty influenced by Indian and Cambodian carvings.

September 2004