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~ Modigliani ~ Ave Maria ~

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Uploaded on Nov 1, 2011

Modigliani was born into a Jewish family in Livorno, Italy. A port city, Livorno had long served as a refuge for those persecuted for their religion, and was home to a large Jewish community. His maternal great-great-grandfather, Solomon Garsin, had immigrated to Livorno in the 18th century as a refugee.[1]
Modigliani's mother, Eugénie Garsin, who was born in and grew up in Marseille, was descended from an intellectual, scholarly family of Sephardic Jews, generations of whom had resided along the Mediterranean coastline. Her ancestors were learned people, fluent in many languages, known authorities on sacred Jewish texts and founders of a school of Talmudic studies. Family legend traced the Garsin's lineage to the 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza. The family business was believed to be a credit agency with branches in Livorno, Marseille, Tunis, and London. Their financial fortunes ebbed and flowed. At times they enjoyed affluence, at other times they were subject to dire financial crises and reduced circumstances.[2]
Modigliani's father, Flaminio, hailed from a family of successful businessmen and entrepreneurs. While not as culturally sophisticated as the Garsins, they knew how to invest into and develop thriving business endeavors. Their wealth was derived from mining the metals abundant in the area of Sardinia and Tuscany and extracting and exporting the ores. When the Garsin and Modigliani families announced the engagement of their children, Flaminio was a wealthy young mining engineer. He managed the mine in Sardinia and oversaw the almost 30,000 acres of timberland the family owned. He also was expert in both forestry and farming management.[3]A reversal in fortune occurred to this prosperous family in 1883. An economic turndown in the price of metal plunged the Modiglianis into bankruptcy. Ever resourceful, Modigliani's mother used her social contacts to establish a school and, along with her two sisters, made the school into a successful enterprise.[4]

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