Giorgio Morandi Artist Biography

From the Metaphysical paintings of his early years, to the nearly abstract canvases made in the 1960's, Giorgio Morandi engaged in a lifelong attempt to seize reality through the familiar. The consistency and intensity of this investigation has made him the quintessential 'artist's artist'. Working from his studio in Bologna, a place he rarely leaves, Giorgio Morandi used the same simple elements, including bottles, boxes, and the view from his window, staging a seemingly endless array of variations. His paintings appear to transcend time and place, an effect he achieves by removing labels from his bottles, faces from his clocks, and people from his landscapes. In fact, many of his works can be read as arrangements of pure form. The subtle variations of these late works demonstrate Giorgio Morandi 's capacity for discovering immense complexity within the self-imposed limitations of his practice.

Giorgio Morandi was born in Bologna on 20 July 1890. After his father died, the family moved to an old house at via Fondazza 36. He lived here for the rest of his life, with his mother and his three sisters. He worked and slept in a single room, surrounded by the simple, dust-laden objects he used in his paintings. From 1907-1913, Giorgio Morandi studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna and travelled around Italy to study Renaissance art. In 1909, he encounters the work of Paul Cézanne, an encounter that has a substantial impact on him. Around 1912 he makes first contact with the Futurists. In an event of the Futurists in the Teatro del Corso in Bologna in 1914, he gets to know Umberto Boccioni and Carlo Carrà. He participates in the "First Free Futurist Exhibition" in the Galleria Sprovieri in Rome the same year. The artist also closely examines the Cubist style of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, as well as the painting of Henri Rousseau.

Around 1918/19 he turns to the "Pittura Metafisica" and takes on motifs of Giorgio de Chiricos in his paintings. He joins the group "Valori Plastici" in 1922. As early as in 1920, Giorgio Morandi restricts his choice of subjetcs almost exclusively to still lifes, with the exception of a few landscapes. His favourite colours are gentle and delicate tones, such as an earthen yellow, ochre, grey blue and rose. His contemplative still life works usually show just a few plain bottles, cups, bowls and jars, which he always arranges anew. The simple object's plasticity is achieved by the right arrangement of light and dark areas. The objects are more and more reduced to their simple geometric shape as of the late 1930s, his stroke of brush remains visible, the attention is now turned to the application of the paint. He also dedicates his extensive graphic oeuvre and drawings to still lifes, which do not have a less harmonic and contemplative effect.

Scroll To Top