Various Objects on a Table
Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi

1890 - 1964

Giorgio Morandi was an Italian painter and printmaker who specialized in still lifes. His paintings are noted for their tonal subtlety in depicting simple subjects, mainly vases, bottles, bowls, flowers, and landscapes.

Morandi was born in Bologna, Italy, to Andrea Morandi and Maria Maccaferri, eldest of the family of five sons and three daughters. He lived first on Via Lame where his brother Giuseppe and his sister Anna were born. The family then moved to Via Avesella where two other sisters were born, Dina in 1900 and Maria Teresa in 1906. After the death of his father in 1909, the family moved to Via Fondazza and Giorgio became the head of the family.

From 1907 to 1913, he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna (Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna). At the Accademia, which based its traditions on 14th-century painting, Morandi taught himself to etch by studying books on Rembrandt. He was excellent at his studies, although his professors disapproved of the changes in his style during his final two years at the Accademia.

In 1910, he visited Florence, where the works of artists such as Giotto, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, and Paolo Uccello made a profound impression on him. He had a brief digression into a Futurist style in 1914. In that same year, Morandi was appointed instructor of drawing for elementary schools in Bologna-a post he held until 1929. Morandi was influenced by the works of Cézanne, Derain, and Picasso.

In 1915, he joined the army but had a breakdown and was indefinitely discharged. During World War I, Morandi's still life paintings became more reduced in their compositional elements and purer in form, revealing his admiration for both Cézanne and Henri "Le Douanier" Rousseau.

Morandi practiced metaphysical painting (Italian: pittura metafisica) from 1918 to 1922. This was his last major stylistic shift; thereafter, he focused increasingly on subtle gradations of hue, tone, and objects arranged in a unifying atmospheric haze, establishing the direction his art was to take for the rest of his life. Morandi showed in the Novecento Italiano exhibitions of 1926 and 1929, but was more specifically associated with the regional Strapaese group by the end of the decade, a fascist-influenced group emphasizing local cultural traditions. He was sympathetic to the Fascist party in the 1920s, although his friendships with anti-Fascist figures led authorities to arrest him briefly in 1943.

From 1928, Morandi exhibited his work in both Italian and foreign cities. He participated in some of the Venice Biennale exhibitions-where, in 1948, he won first prize for painting-and in the Rome Quadriennale. In 1929, he illustrated the work Il sole a picco by Vincenzo Cardarelli, winner of the Premio Bagutta. From 1930 to 1956, Morandi was a professor of etching at Accademia di Belle Arti. He visited Paris for the first time in 1956, and in 1957 he won the grand prize at the São Paulo Art Biennial.

Quiet and polite, both in his private and public life, Morandi was much talked about in Bologna for his enigmatic yet very optimistic personality. He lived on Via Fondazza, in Bologna, with his three sisters: Anna, Dina, and Maria Teresa.

Morandi died of lung cancer on June 18, 1964. He is buried in the Certosa di Bologna in the family tomb together with his three sisters. On the tomb is a portrait of him by Giacomo Manzù.

Text courtesy of Wikipedia, 2024