Modigliani was encouraged to sculpt by Brancusi. He made about thirty stone carvings before poverty and ill-health forced him to stop. These were mostly heads, of which this is one of the largest. Seven were shown as a 'decorative ensemble' in 1912, and Epstein later recalled that Modigliani would place candles on them, achieving the effect of 'a primitive temple'. Modigliani eclectically borrowed from African masks, medieval carving and Khmer sculptures. These sources seem to have represented the spiritual expression that he sought to achieve.