Amedeo Modigliani was one of modern art’s fabled beauties. His life was box-office gold, a classic mortal tale of squalor and salvation. An artist-genius sinks under the weight of poverty, illness and addiction, dies at 35, leaving behind ruined lives — his distraught mistress kills herself and their unborn child — and a body of hugely popular art. He viewed artists as privileged beings. At 17, he wrote that as a species they had “different rights, different values than do normal, ordinary people because we have different needs which put us — it has to be said and you must believe it — above their moral standards.” Many adolescents play with such ideas. Modigliani went on to live them.