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Giorgio Morandi

What if you only painted bottles for your whole life?

"I believe that nothing can be more abstract, more unreal, than what we actually see. We know that... the objective world... never really exists as we see and understand it... has no intrinsic meaning of its own, such as the meanings that we attach to it." - Giorgio Morandi

Morandi is one of the most recognizable and enigmatic artists of the 20th century. He won international recognition during his lifetime while maintaining a secluded life with his three sisters in Bologna.

As a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, he took a particular interest in French Impressionists and painters such as Paul CézanneGeorges SeuratHenri Rousseau and Pierre-Auguste Renoir and early Italian artists such as Giotto, Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, and Piero della Francesca. Although he rarely traveled, Morandi was well aware of contemporary avant-garde trends such as futurism and pittura metafisica. Drawing on these influences, in 1920 Morandi began developing his individual style, which he would continue to refine throughout his career.

Morandi worked obsessively on two key themes: the landscapes of his environs (the Apennines around Bologna and the Cortile di Via Fondazza) and still lives of vases, shells, and flowers. In these, he painted the same objects again and again in similar settings, but with minimal variations in composition, viewpoint, and color. He was also a master of the use of different techniques: a subject painted in oil on canvas creates a different atmosphere when it is depicted in a drawing, an engraving, or a watercolor. For him, each technique was of equal value and he made full use of them all to experiment with.

Morandi's artistic development can be seen as one of consistent development, without major changes of style. His whole oeuvre is a constant search for the essence and purity of forms: his later works come close to abstraction.

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Still Life with Bottles and Pitcher

Still Life with Bottles and Pitcher

1915
Still Life - 1920

Still Life - 1920

1920
Self Portrait

Self Portrait

1924
Still life with Drapery

Still life with Drapery

1927
Houses of Campiaro in Grizzana

Houses of Campiaro in Grizzana

1929
Fiori

Fiori

1929
Budding Roses in a Vase

Budding Roses in a Vase

1931
Still Life of Vases on a Table

Still Life of Vases on a Table

1931
Large Still Life with Coffeepot

Large Still Life with Coffeepot

1933
Flowers

Flowers

1942
Still Life with Eleven Objects

Still Life with Eleven Objects

1945
Still Life - 1946

Still Life - 1946

1946
Still Life - 1949

Still Life - 1949

1948-1949
Still Life - 1951

Still Life - 1951

1951
Still Life - 1952

Still Life - 1952

1952
Still Life - 1955

Still Life - 1955

1955
Bottles

Bottles

1956
Still Life - 1956

Still Life - 1956

1956
Rural Landscape

Rural Landscape

1957
Still Life - 1957

Still Life - 1957

1957
Cortile di via Fondazza

Cortile di via Fondazza

1958
Flowers - 1958

Flowers - 1958

1958
Still Life - 1959

Still Life - 1959

1959
Still Life - 1960

Still Life - 1960

1960

The artists of Early Modernism

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