Why the long face? Modigliani at the Hecht

Today we made the long journey to Haifa, Israel to visit the Hecht Museum.  Our adventure included great music, amazing art and even a few disguises along the way!

The Hecht Museum is a museum on the grounds of the University of Haifa in Israel and is, perhaps, best known for its incredible collection of archaeological treasures from Israel, including rare coins, gorgeous jewelry and ancient mosaics. It is also home to the Ma’agan Michael Ship, the wreck of a 5th Century merchant vessel! The Hecht is also a well-known art museum, with pieces from a variety of artists including Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and, our featured artist, Amedeo Modigliani.

Modigliani, who was known as somewhat of a ladies man  (Andy Garcia played him in a movie version of the artist’s life…hubba hubba), was born to a Jewish family in Livorno, Italy in 1884. Modigliani was a bit of a sickly child and, as legend has it, once experienced such a high fever that he had a delirious dream. Upon waking from that dream, he announced to his waiting parents that he would grow up to be a great artist. And from then on, at the ripe old age of 11, Modigliani was enrolled in art classes and was nurtured as an artist by his family.  After Modigliani moved to Paris at the age of 22, he became a voracious artist – sometimes producing more than 100 drawings a day.

We looked at several examples of Modigliani’s iconic portraits and paid special attention to the elongated necks and faces the subjects have. Then, the children were given the opportunity to create a portrait in the style of Modigliani, utilizing his favorite those same characteristics. The results were breathtaking…


After completing our creations, I passed out “Modigliani Masks” that I made from printing out and laminating details from his portraits…I loved watching the class morph into a sea of long faces!

Here are a few ideas for at-home projects!

  • Make your own mask of a famous artist! Just search for your favorite artist online and locate a good picture of their face. Print it out on an 8×11” sheet and laminate at LakeShore learning center. Then cut out the eyeholes and around the edges…punch holes on each side and place a piece of string around. (Alternatively, you can glue a tongue depresser to the bottom of the mask for more of a masquerade feel…) You can turn yourself into Picasso or van Gogh in an instant!

While this isn’t Modigliani-specific, I can’t pass up the opportunity to let you know that every Sunday at the SFMOMA is free for children! From 11am – 3pm, children are admitted free of charge, and the museum offers family tours at 1pm every Sunday as well. Make a day of it!

As our last class of the session, I was awfully sad to see the children go…but after they had all left, I turned to the white board to see a little note from one of my students…needless to say, I’ll miss you all too…


1 Comment

Filed under ktblue art classes

One response to “Why the long face? Modigliani at the Hecht

  1. Def have to see that movie, Andy Garcia hubba hubba. Age 11 he was on the way? Will have to get Tallulah on that path toot sweet then, no time to waste. Love the masks!

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